Hard to Be a god: the Russian Constitutional Court and its First Case on Enforceability of a Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

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Author: Grigory Vaypan

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2016-4-107-124

Keywords: Anchugov and Gladkov v. Russia; Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation; imprisonment; right to vote; The European Court of Human Rights

Abstract

The past two and a half years – from late 2013 to the first half of 2016 – have seen the creation of a legal framework for the resolution of conflicts between the Russian Constitution and international human rights treaties. Within this framework, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has been given a central role of the guardian of “national constitutional identity”, endowed with the power to set limits to Russia’s “acquiescence” in its relations with international human rights bodies, first and foremost with the European Court of Human Rights. An important milestone in the crystallization of this framework has been the judgment of the Constitutional Court of 19 April 2016 No.12-P. In this judgment, the Constitutional Court has for the first time applied its new power to a specific judgment of the European Court of Human Rights – Anchugov and Gladkov v. Russia – and has found it partially unenforceable. This article is an attempt to evaluate this first in concreto experience of the Constitutional Court in light of its accumulated in abstracto case law on the discussed issue. The author concludes that the methodology used by the Constitutional Court to decide upon the enforceability of the European Court’s judgments is incoherent and contradictory. This, in turn, undermines the integrity of the Constitutional Court’s findings in Anchugov and Gladkov v. Russia. Overall, the judgment of the Constitutional Court of 19 April 2016 No.12-P illustrates how difficult it is for one to be a defender of constitutional values where no threat to such values is present.

Citation: Vaypan G. (2016) Trudno byt' bogom: Konstitutsionnyy Sud Rossii i ego pervoe delo o vozmozhnosti ispolneniya postanovleniya Evropeyskogo Suda po pravam cheloveka [Hard to Be a God: the Russian Constitutional Court and its First Case on Enforceability of a Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.4, pp.107–124. (In Russian).

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