Constitutional amendments on the role of international obligations in the legal system of Russia: forward towards the past?

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Author: Sergey Marochkin

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-2-105-124

Keywords: Constitution of the Russian Federation; constitutional amendments; constitutions of foreign countries; constitutional courts; international law; the legal system of the country; RCC; ECHR; ECtHR; Venice Commission

Abstract

The article is devoted to assessing the significance for the legal system of the Russian Federation of constitutional amendments relating to international law which are of substantial importance among the numerous amendments introduced by the Law of 2020. They relate to a very specific issue of the possibility of refusing to comply with decisions of international jurisdictional bodies, but in fact reflect a fundamental change in the country’s attitude to its obligations in international community and the role for it of international law in general. The origins of such a turn are shown. It was set up in 2015 by the judgement of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as the RCC) and by the federal constitutional law. Now they are enshrined at the highest level in the Constitution. The author argues that the widespread opinions and statements about the similar policy of foreign countries referring to their constitutions and judicial practice do not fully reflect the actual situation. Russia is essentially the only country with such a position regarding the acts of international bodies. The real meaning of the amendments is not to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution, which was not necessary from a legal point of view. They are to entrench barriers to “inconvenient” decisions of international bodies. Failure to comply with them entails a violation of obligations under international law.

About the author: Sergey Marochkin – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor, Head of the Centre for International and Comparative Legal Studies, University of Tyumen, Tyumen, Russia.

Citation: Marochkin S. (2022) Konstitutsionnye popravki o roli mezhdunarodnykh obyazatel’stv v pravovoy si­steme Rossii: vperyod, v proshloe? [Constitutional amendments on the role of international obligations in the legal system of Russia: forward towards the past?]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 105–124. (In Russian).

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