TI complaint about foreign agent law

Transparency International submits a complaint about the law on foreign agents to the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court

Moscow, 6 February 2014

Representatives from Transparency International (TI), as with previous complainants, believe the law on “foreign agents” to be in breach of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Earlier, TI had been unsuccessful in proving that its organisation is not involved in “political activity”. The Moscow City Court upheld the decision of Moscow’s Zamoskvorenchye District Council which issued a legal warning of prosecution of human rights activists.

In its complaint, TI argues, among other things, that the definitions of “political activity”, “political action”, and “a non-profit organisation that functions as a foreign agent” are legally ambiguous. The first two of these are completely missing from Russian law. Human rights activists also believe that the “foreign agents” law infringes the people’s right of association. TI also asserts that demands to declare itself a foreign agent contravenes the principle enshrined in Article 51 of the Russian Federation’s Constitution, namely that no-one is legally bound to incriminate themselves.

On 6 March, the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court is to review complaints submitted by a number of non-profit organisations over the “foreign agents” law, and will be supported by the Human Rights Ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin. The Departments responsible for introducing this law will give their response to the complaints the day before the hearing.

As reported by “Kommersant” the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation for Civil Society and Human Rights could appear before the Constitutional Court as an impartial third party. 34 out of 61 members of the Presidential Council have voted to take part in meetings on the rights of the “friend of the court”. The Friend of the Court does not represent any of the warring parties, but is regarded as an independent expert. This particular edition of “Kommersant” includes a statement from the court that “it is always amenable to constructive dialogue with the legal fraternity”.

Author: Georgi Ivanushkin


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