Bringing Human Rights Home: The Application of the European
Convention in Russian Courts
Dr. Anton Burkov Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
With comments by
Dr. William Pomeranz
Deputy Director, Kennan Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Problems with rule in law and the persistence of “legal nihilism” have long plagued access to justice and human rights protection in Russia. However, there are indications that limited progress is being made within the Russian Federation’s vast legal system. These include ratification of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and participation in the European Court of Human Rights. Though Russian courts still do not consistently and competently apply the Convention in their judgments, the European Convention and its domestic application is a powerful force for rule of law in Russia. Russian lawyers, particularly staff attorneys at NGOs, have successfully used the Convention when advocating for their clients. The application of the Convention has resulted in piecemeal legal reforms regarding pre-trial detention facilities, extrajudicial review of judgments, length of proceedings, and non-execution of judgments. Yet, in order to harness the power of attorneys at the forefront of applying the Convention in Russian courts, more is needed in terms of education for legal professionals and law students alike, including required courses on the Convention in Russian law schools and a master’s degree program in international human rights protection.
Bringing Human Rights Home: The Application of the European Convention in Russian Courts from National Endowment for Democracy on Vimeo.
Dr. Anton Burkov is a lawyer based in Yekaterinburg, Russia. An advocate of human rights, he has litigated cases in Russian courts, including the Supreme and Constitutional courts, and currently serves as a legal representative in a number of cases before the European Court of Human Rights. In 2001, he received the highest legal prize in Russia, the FEMIDA Award, “for contributions toward the creation of a democratic society and the development of state legal institutions.” An expert on the Russian legal system, he has authored numerous publications, including Convention for the Protection of Human Rights in Russian Courts (2010). He is a graduate of the University of Essex, where he was a Chevening Scholar, and the University of Cambridge, where he was a TNK-BP Kapitza Scholar. During his fellowship, Dr. Burkov is investigating the principles that the European Convention can contribute to Russian legislation and legal practice.
Dr. William E. Pomeranz is the deputy director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.