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Meeting with Supreme Court President Vyacheslav Lebedev

May 22, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Supreme Court President Vyacheslav Lebedev. The discussion focused on measures aimed at humanising law enforcement practice, as well as on efforts to create courts in the new regions of the Russian Federation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lebedev, we constantly discuss this issue, it is always on our agenda: the humanisation of our legislation. I would like to ask you to begin with this.

Supreme Court President Vyacheslav Lebedev: Mr President, thank you for making this issue a priority. It really is a fundamental activity of the Supreme Court and the judicial system as well.

The implementation of this task and the efforts towards it are ongoing. In line with your latest instruction to develop proposals for the humanisation of both legislation and law enforcement practice, we have prepared a corresponding draft law aimed at humanising law enforcement practice in relation to women and persons who have committed crimes of minor or medium gravity for the first time. The ultimate goal of this draft law is that a person, if they were charged with these offences for the first time, would not be held criminally liable at all, so that there would first be administrative or other disciplinary liability. And only when these offences are repeated can criminal liability occur.

As for bringing criminal charges against women, we are now proposing the following structure: for minor offences, even in situations when a woman has no registration, she will still not be held criminally liable. There are several options here. True, she has no registration, but she has a place of residence, her whereabouts are known. But even if it is unknown, the state can provide an opportunity for warn her about the inadmissibility of repeating such actions or actions of a different nature of minor or medium gravity, for which then it would already be possible to prosecute her.

This scheme is being used for the first time, because usually the courts in law enforcement practice have acted in the following way: yes, a crime of minor or medium gravity was committed, but there was no registration. Since there was no registration, there was a question about where to look for the woman and what she might do. There is probably no need to assume: there is no registration, but there is a place of residence, everyone knows where she lives. If not, well, they will find it.

Vladimir Putin: A technical issue.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: Yes. Now there are numerous, significant possibilities of searching, establishing the place of abode of such persons, so this is not a problem. I think the state can do it.

Vladimir Putin: Of course, I agree. It is necessary, as we usually do in such cases, to work on this thoroughly with the expert community, to work on this with the deputies and the Civic Chamber; and I will issue a corresponding instruction to the Executive Office.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: We have almost completed work on this draft law. We will submit it, as you say, to experts for discussion, and it will be submitted to you. We have already submitted it, as per your instruction.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I remember, of course.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: Nevertheless, it will go up for public review by civil society at large.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: As for the Supreme Court’s work as a whole, now cases are mostly heard within a reasonable timeframe. You know that there is special oversight over the timeframe for court proceedings. It is very important because a person should not have to stand in line for justice. A person cannot wait long, because all the current problems will lose their meaning if cases are not heard in a timely fashion. Therefore, the following procedure has now been established: if the reasonable time for hearing a case is violated, a citizen who applies to the courts has the right to demand compensation for the violation of the reasonable time for considering the case. This is enshrined in law. This is a very important and good measure, a good institution for compensating the inefficiency of justice, for violations of the reasonable timeframe.

And there is another problem we need to work on. In addition to the reasonable time for holding proceedings, there should also be responsibility – and there is – for the execution of court decisions, so that a court decision is executed within the period established by law, and in the event of non-compliance with this period, the guilty persons must be punished. Otherwise, the effectiveness of justice loses its meaning.

Vladimir Putin: As well as faith in justice itself, in the state. That is right, I agree.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: I know that the Supreme Court is also working on establishing appropriate courts for all areas of activity in the new constituent entities of the Federation.

Vyacheslav Lebedev: Yes. In accordance with legislation that has entered into force, the competition to fill the vacancies for the positions of heads of courts in the Donetsk People's Republic, Lugansk People's Republic, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions has already ended. I believe that by autumn we will form the judiciary, and the plenum of the Russian Federation Supreme Court in the new constituent entities will announce the start of work of the courts.

Vladimir Putin: Very good. Establishing judicial bodies in the new constituent entities of the Federation is the most important step in establishing authorities in these regions in general. Therefore, I hope that the work will be completed within the timeframe you have just mentioned.

Thank you very much.


May 22, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow