Concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee on the eighth periodic report of the Russian Federation
The UN Human Rights Committee reviewed the compliance of the Russian Federation with its international human rights obligations. On 3 November 2022, the Committee issued the concluding observations of this review, which originally was scheduled in March 2022, i.e. shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. This happened despite Russia’s third postponement request and the absence of its delegation. The Committee regretted this absence and expressed that it remains open to cooperation and engagement with Russia in the future. Russia’s report within the meaning of Art. 40, first paragraph, ICCPR, dated from 17 May 2019.
In the concluding observations the Committee first of all expressed its concern “about the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine initiated by the State party, resulting, inter alia, in a large-scale deprivation of lives.” Furthermore, it is concerned “about the increasing allegations of harassment, violence and killing of opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders.” The Committee is also concerned about the obstruction of the functioning of lawyers. Lawyers Dmitry Talantov and Ivan Pavlov are mentioned in particular, because they are“facing unwarranted disciplinary proceedings and even criminal prosecutions, in particular in connection with defending participants of anti-war protests (art 26).”
There are also reports of lawyers in Crimea being arrested and convicted who provided professional assistance to victims of political repression, as well of disregarding the presumption of innocence and of holding court hearings in private. In that regard, the Committee “expresses its concern about alleged persecutions, arrests and convictions of lawyers who provide professional assistance to victims of political repression, and the serious deficiencies of the judicial system, including the absence of public hearings under the pretext of Covid-19 pandemic (art 38).”
Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the recommendation in which the Committee calls on the Russian authorities to take “all necessary measures to ensure functioning of an independent judicial system in Crimea, including through conducting public hearings, ensure the unhindered exercise of the legal profession and refrain from any interference in professional activities of lawyers defending their clients (art 39 c).”
On the occasion of the 134th session of the Committee’s, earlier this year, Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement for the review of the Russian Federation’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, and more in particular the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In January 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers also submitted a report to the Committee in which it highlighted key areas of concern about the failure of the government of the Russian Federation to comply with its international human rights commitments to guarantee effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession.
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