Russia’s Supreme Court suggests the seriously ill, homeless and mothers of young children should not be held in custody
The Russian Federation’s Supreme Court proposes that the seriously ill, mothers and homeless people should not be arrested
The Federation’s Supreme Court has reviewed the practice of holding those accused of non-violent crimes in custody and concluded that, in some cases, arrest is unnecessary.
The Court is arguing for the introduction of a ban on detaining seriously ill defendants, homeless people and women with children under 14 years of age, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency quoting a statement released by the Court’s Press Office.
People with serious illnesses
“We suggest that a restriction be placed on the remanding in custody of a person suffering from a serious illness that prevents him/her from being held in custody”, the statement said.
The Supreme Court now says that “there is a legislative loophole that is directly relevant to this issue”. Article 110.1 of the Russian Criminal Procedural Code provides for changing an already agreed restriction order for a person to be held in custody only if he or she has a serious illness. The Court is therefore suggesting that a different approach be taken from the outset such as house arrest.
The Court also proposes that in the case of homeless people or those whose identity has not been established, a preventive measure in the form of a ban on certain activities or a written commitment to remain in one place or to behave responsibly could be imposed. At present, those suspected or accused of a minor offence can be held in custody. The Court suggests only doing so if a person has tried to abscond or breached the conditions of a chosen preventive measure.
Mothers of children under 14 years of age
The Court also proposes that women with young children should only be taken into custody if they are suspected or accused of committing a serious or particularly grave crime, or in exceptional cases, a less serious crime during which violence has been inflicted. In all other instances, the courts will be able to impose other preventive measures for mothers of young children.
The Russian Federation’s Public Chamber to protect heads of CSOs working on a voluntary basis
Disagreements between officials at the Labour and Finance Ministries and the Russian Federal Tax Service may deprive some CSO leaders of their index-linked pensions. The Public Chamber has promised to get to the bottom of this.
The Public Chamber has asked the Finance Ministry to address the issue of index-linked pensions for heads of SONGOs who work on a voluntary basis.
The Finance Ministry proposes that CSO leaders should be covered by compulsory social insurance. Activists fear this could lead to them not having their pensions index-linked. These CSO heads are often pensioners “so it is very important that their pensions are indexed as is the case for all seniors who do not receive a salary”, said Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Chair of the Public Chamber’s Commission for the Development of the Non-Profit Sector and Support for SONGOs.
How this issue arose in the first place
The problem emerged because of conflicting views among three agencies. In a letter dated 20 December 2022, the Ministry of Labour stated that heads of SONGOs whose work is not employment or civil law related were not considered to be covered by compulsory pension insurance and that their pensions should be index-linked in accordance with established rules for pensioners who do not receive a salary for their work.
In a letter dated 2 March this year, the Federal Tax Service (FTS) stated that heads of SONGOs who work without pay do not need to provide personalised information to the FTS. However, on 24 March, a letter from the Finance Ministry emerged that contradicted what had been said by the FTS. In it, the Ministry clarified the obligation on a head of a SONGO to submit personalised information on individuals to the tax authorities within set deadlines in cases where payments to individuals have not been made.
Elena Topoleva-Soldunova sees the reason for these differences of opinion in the fact that “the notion of a person working as a head of an organisation on a voluntary basis is relatively new and something which is not regulated under the Federal Employment Code”. In her view, the problem must be resolved through legislation. “The matter is urgent and cannot be put off any longer. We will be discussing the situation in the near future at a meeting of the Labour Ministry’s Public Council and making representations to the Russian Federal Tax Service”.