As usual, Russia’s constitutional court bows to the executive

The Russian Constitutional Court has fixed the glitch in the legislation that denied the guaranteed right to a jury trial to women accused of capital crimes:

According to Russia’s Criminal Code, regional courts only hold jury trials when the accused faces life imprisonment. However, women cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment under Russia’s Criminal Code.

After her application for a jury trial was rejected, Lymar [a woman accused of murder] appealed to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the current situation leads to inequality between men and women…

The Constitutional Court ruled in Lymar’s favor…

But the State’s convenience must be placed above those pesky rights, according to the Court’s chairman Valery Zorkin:

Ukrainian citizen Nadiya Savchenko cannot be retried by a jury in the context of the Russian Constitutional Court’s ruling it issued on Thursday, Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said.

“If a case has already been listed for trial by a panel of judges, it will be heard precisely this way… If the hearing of a case has already been started, as is the case with Ms. Savchenko, it cannot be reviewed by a jury,” he said.

Truly, Valery Zorkin deserves to be crowned Meretrix Magna of post-Soviet Eurasia: he’s been in the trade since Yeltsin’s first term.

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