Russia confirms adherence to death penalty ban obligations

Moscow will stick to its commitments on the abolishment of the capital punishment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said on Thursday.

Constitutional Court of Russian Federation extended a moratorium on capital punishment earlier on Thursday. The court said that the ban, introduced in 1999, had begun an “irreversible process” toward the abolition of the death penalty in the country. The 1999 decision imposed a moratorium until jury trials were introduced in all of Russia’s regions.

Chechnya, the only region where jury trials are not available, is due to introduce them on January 1, 2010. However, Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin said that the introduction of jury trials in Chechnya “does not make it possible to apply the death penalty on Russian territory” as Russia has signed international agreements banning the death penalty.

Russia imposed the moratorium after it joined the Council of Europe in 1996 and signed the European Convention on Human Rights, but it has not ratified the document yet.

“The resolution by the Constitutional Court confirms that the Russian Federation remains true to commitments it undertook when joining the Council of Europe,” the ministry said.

The Council of Europe welcomed on Thursday the Russian court’s decision to extend the moratorium.




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