2015 AS Santos 3rd CommIsabel Santos speaks at the OSCE PA Annual Session in Helsinki, 6 July 2015. COPENHAGEN, 17 December 2015 – The Chairperson of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions Committee, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), today expressed concern about new legislation in Russia that allows the country’s Constitutional Court to decide on whether to implement rulings of international human rights courts, including the European Court of Human Rights.

The measures, signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 15 December, enable the country’s highest court to “rule on the ability to comply with the ruling of an interstate body for the protection of human rights and freedoms” in the context of “the supremacy and supreme judicial power of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.”

“I fear that the intention of this law is to give the Russian government a legalistic excuse to ignore international human rights rulings,” Chairperson Santos said.

“The European Court of Human Rights, in particular, has for years served as the only trusted tribunal for Russian citizens who have lost faith in their country’s own court system. Now, instead of addressing its troubling record on human rights and rule of law, it appears that Russia is further squeezing the space for justice,” she added.

The Chairperson recalled that the European Court issued 122 judgments in 2014 that found violations concerning Russia, more than any other Council of Europe member state. Approximately 9,000 applications relating to Russia remain pending at the Court.

“As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia is legally bound to adhere to the judgments of the Court of Human Rights. As Russia moves away from that commitment, as well as key OSCE commitments, I urge its leaders to consider the dangerous precedent they are setting -- both for their own country and for all states that pledge to follow international rules and mechanisms,” Chairperson Santos said.

The Chairperson expressed her readiness to engage with her Russian colleagues within the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly regarding the law and its implications, as well as other issues related to human rights and rule of law in the country.