18 March 2020
The Russian Supreme Court has suspended consideration of some of its cases because of the coronavirus pandemic. In Russia the courts will now consider only cases of an urgent nature. This list will include cases about the selection, extension, cancellation or change in remand or bail.
Coronavirus is making access to justice harder for Russians and slowing down the work of the courts, commented Sergei Pashin, retired federal judge, professor in the department of the judiciary and the organisation of justice in the law faculty of the Higher School of Economics and a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, in an interview with Radio Sputnik.
Sergei Pashin called the decision strange and noted that the deliverty of justice in the country will become slower.
“A state of emergency has not been introduced, but an emergency arrangement for consideration of cases has been rolled out across the whole country. I believe that access to justice for our fellow citizens is being seriously hindered. It’s not being hindered selectively, but for the whole country. It’s dangerous. It’s clear that courts of first instance will suffer most. People seeking to resolve their claims or those accused of committing crimes will suffer. The consideration of criminal cases will also be slowed down and only issues related to detention will be resolved. We’re encountering a situation of even slower justice,” explained Pashin.
Besides the decision to suspend the consideration of some cases, the Supreme Court also ordered all other courts to hold more hearings using video conferencing.
Translated by Mercedes Malcomson