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Meeting with Chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin

January 21, 2011, Gorki, Moscow Region

Dmitry Medvedev announced the signing of an Executive Order appointing Alexander Bastrykin Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The President noted that for the first time an entirely independent investigative body is being created in Russia. According to Mr Medvedev, the Investigative Committee will be able to influence the general criminal procedural discipline in the country, as well as the overall situation with crime investigation. The President did not rule out the possibility that in the future the Investigative Committee’s mandate will be broadened.

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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Bastrykin, I signed an executive order several days ago on the status of the Investigative Committee, and it has already entered into force. Today, I have signed an executive order appointing you Chairman of the Investigative Committee. Congratulations.

Chairman of The Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin: Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Now just a few words in general about these changes. In the entire history of our country, and I am referring both to the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, this is the first time that a totally independent investigative body has been established; a body whose responsibilities include conducting preliminary investigations of a very broad range of cases. Our country has never has such a separate body in charge of conducting investigations. The Prosecutor's Office, or the KGB or NKVD, were in charge of investigations, never an independent agency or department. This means that now there is an independent body that has its own procedural juridical powers. As I said, its responsibilities include conducting preliminary investigations on a broad range of criminal cases.

I hope that under your leadership the Investigative Committee will become a significant investigative agency, authoritative, respected, uncompromising and at the same time acting strictly in accordance with our criminal procedure law and with respect for human rights and accountable directly to the President of the Russian Federation.

I would like the Investigative Committee staff to clearly understand its objectives. For the most part they are former employees of the Investigative Committee that used to be part of the Prosecutor's Office. Similar agencies in different countries have adopted various modes of work, some of which were successful, while others less so. I hope that now this new page in our country’s history of preliminary investigation will be a great success.

I also expect that the Investigative Committee, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, will give full attention to investigating complex criminal cases, cases that involve attempts on the lives and health of our citizens, violations of other fundamental human and civil rights, corruption offences, cases whose successful resolution will contribute to economic stability or which are aimed at ensuring economic stability, as well as crimes against property and property rights.

I also hope that the Investigative Committee, as a consolidating element in the entire investigation system, will be able to exert a positive influence on the general criminal procedure discipline in the country and will have an impact on the overall situation with the investigation of various crimes. The Investigative Committee’s competences, or jurisdiction, is defined by the law On the Investigative Committee and is based on the Criminal Procedure Code. However, experience is a crucial factor, so let’s see how things go. When we discussed this reform, devoting a great deal of time to considering how to do it best, what rights and obligations should be transferred to the Investigative Committee, what will be job of the Prosecutor's Office in overseeing the Investigative Committee, we proceeded from the belief that this is a mechanism that has yet to prove its merits in practice.

Therefore, as I said, I do not exclude the possibility that in future the Investigative Committee’s mandate and its investigative jurisdiction may be expanded up to transferring to it the entire array of criminal cases being investigated in our country. But this is not our task for today or even for tomorrow. First we must see how this mechanism will function.

I would like you to continue your diligent efforts in investigating crimes, because that is what provides protection of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, and our citizens expect the Investigative Committee to demonstrate the highest standard of work.

Alexander Bastrykin: Mr President, thank you for the confidence you have placed in me personally and the staff of the Investigative Committee. We will fulfil with honour the duties you have outlined today. 

January 21, 2011, Gorki, Moscow Region