15 January 2021
Speaking live on air on the radio station Moscow Echo, Karinna Moskalenko, international lawyer, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and founder of the International Protection Centre, described as absurd the demand by the Federal Penitentiary Service to change the politician Aleksei Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case to a real term of imprisonment, even after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights of October 2017.
“You can see the absurdity of this situation. This is an attempt by the Russian government to demonstrate that it is above the law, rights, obligations, and legal guarantees. This is regrettable and not at all funny,” Moskalenko said.
She reminded listeners that the decisions of the ECtHR are binding on every member state of the Council of Europe, including Russia. This issue is discussed in Strasbourg every three months by its governing body, the Committee of Ministers.
“I was involved in the Yves Rocher case because my colleagues represented the interests of Navalny. He came to Strasbourg and we discussed the most effective ways of defending him. And now it is very important that we highlight the latest example of Russia’s reluctance to actually implement a ruling of the ECtHR,” Moskalenko stressed.
According to her, the Yves Rocher case was interesting because it was the first time the ECtHR made it so clear that “not all criminal prosecutions can be dealt with by criminal law.
“In this case concerned only civil law relations, and the state cannot prosecute a person for being involved in these relations. There is another area of law concerning lawsuits and fines, but a person cannot be prosecuted under the criminal law for this,” Moskalenko explained. She added that, in this sense, the Yves Rocher case was symbolic and set a very important precedent.
On 17 October 2017 the ECtHR ruled that Russia violated the right to fair trial in the fraud case against Aleksei and Oleg Navalny. The court concluded that the sentence was arbitrary and unjustified. The ECtHR ruled that Russia must pay the Navalny brothers 76,000 Euros.
The ECtHR refused to find a political motivation in this case. Nevertheless, three judges of the ECtHR expressed the opinion that the Court should have done so.
Translated by Graham Jones