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    Attorney: «Judgement on Pichugins second case must be revised» | 7 Jun 2017

    Kseniya KostrominaEuropean Court of Human Rights adjudged a violation of Pichugins right to a fair trial. The second decision of the European Court of Human Rights for case of Alexey Pichugin was commented on by attorney Kseniya Kostromina to Open Russia.

    The first decision for Pichugin case was passed on October 23, 2012 and it concerned the judgement of the first case. Then Strasburg adjudged a violation of Pichugins right to a fair trial, and also adjudged a violation of Article 5 of the Convention («the right to freedom and personal inviolability»). Has this Strasbourgs decision changed the fate of Pichugin anyhow?

     It has not yet. The violation of Article 5 of the Convention is not subject to any fatal consequences. When in the Presidium of the Supreme Court this issue was discussed, Russian judges quickly cancel all decisions related to the preventive punishment for Pichugin case. As for Article 6 («the right to a fair trial»), the judgement for the first Pichugin case must be quashed and the case must be reviewed again. The Supreme Court disagreed with us and did not quash the judgement.

     And today, concerning the second complaint of Aleksey Pichugin for the second judgement (according to which he was sentenced to life imprisonment), the ECHR delivered a similar decision: Pichugin’s right to a fair trial was violated. What is next?

    This decision cannot be appealed by the Russian Federation. It is final and comes into force at the time of publication. I will be with Aleksey on June 15 and we will coordinate our further actions with him. In particular, the Strasbourg court adjudged that the presumption of innocence was violated. During the preliminary investigation, Yury Burtovoy, the investigation officer, at Alexei Karaulovs show told what a terrible man Aleksey Pichugin is, and even before the court’s decision he declared to the whole country that he was guilty. Then after this show, Aleksey refused the jury trial: precisely because the interview was heard by the whole country. The defense appealed against Burtovoy’s actions in the district court. Tver court failed to agree with us.

     What does the Russian court bind the Strasbourgs decision to this time?

     According to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, the decision of the European Court, which adjudged the violation of any right, is a new circumstance. It can cause the cancellation of the passed decisions for the case. Now the matter depends on the Supreme Court. First, we must discuss with Alexey whether we will apply to the Supreme Court with this, although the law stated in such a way that basically, no motion is required from the applicant, the chairman of the Supreme Court himself must commence proceedings due to «new circumstances». But as a practical matter, it exists in such a way that the person with respect to whom the decision of the European Court was passed makes a motion to the chairman of the Supreme Court, Lebedev, himself to commence supervisory proceedings.

     How long has Pichugin been waiting for this decision?

    In February 2007, the Supreme Court quashed the first judgement for Pichugins second case, further there were new proceedings in the case. Then I immediately wrote a preliminary complaint to the European Court. One of the defense arguments was that the Supreme Court in its cassation ruling wrote that «in case of conviction, consider the issue of imposing a more severe punishment». That is, the Supreme Court actually interfered into the field of action of the court of first instance. In fact, almost ten years have passed since the first complaint was registered with the ECHR.

     After the first Strasbourgs decision in 2012, the Supreme Court refused to quash the judgment of the court — is this an ordinary course? Or is this an exceptional case?

     We believe that by refusing to quash the judgment, the Supreme Court in fact refused to execute a decision of the European Court. We submitted an appeal to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. We are still trying to achieve compliance with the European Court’s decision. Because in no other way the right to a fair trial can be restored, except to cancel all decisions for the case and send the case for a new trial. I do not know the statistics, but in general, in ordinary cases, which have no other component, when the European Court adjudges a violation of Article 6, the Supreme Court easily quashes the judgement and sends the case for a new trial. As we see, in the context of the Pichugins first case won by the ECHR, the Supreme Court acted in a different way. Let us see what will happen this time.

    Zoya Svetova, Open Russia


  • 14 years behind bars without fair trial. What did Strasbourg rule in the case of Pichugin?
  • Zoya Svetova: Who is it, Mikhail Savitsky, conducting an interrogation of Aleksey Pichugin
  • Alexey Pichugin: «I wrote a motion to have a visit from my mother»
  • Statement of Igor Viacheslavovuch Sutyagin
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: «An innnocent man, Alexey Pichugin, is still behind bars»
  • The European Court of Human Rights. CASE OF PICHUGIN v. RUSSIA. Judgment
  • Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger about Alexey Pichugin case
  • Leonid Nevzlins interview about the «case»
  • The «Amnesty International» is anxious about Alexey Pichugins condition

  • Trial of vengeance

  • Journalist Valeriy Shiryaev on the first case of Aleksey Pichugin in his book «Trial of vengeance. The first victim of the YUKOS case»
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