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12.02.2017 On February 10, 2017 the Russian Constitutional Court found that the case of Ildar I. Dadin is to be reviewed

On February 10, 2017 the Russian Constitutional Court proclaimed the Judgment No. 2-П in the case concerning constitutionality of Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code. By the date (February 10,2017) the full text of the Judgment had not been published yet.

The proceedings were initiated under the application of the civil activist Ildar I. Dadin, who had been prosecuted for multiple participation in unauthorized public assemblies and is currently serving his 2,5-year prison sentence.

In his application Ildar I. Dadin argued that Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code violates Articles 1 (part 1), 15 (part 4), 17 (part 1), 18, 19 (part 1), 29 (parts 1 and 3), 31, 48, 49 (part 1), 50 (parts 1 and 2) and 55 (part 3) of the Russian Constitution to the extent that it implies:

  1. Criminal liability for technical infractions of statutory rules for organization or holding of peaceful public assemblies, based only on multiplicity of such infractions;
  2. Potential prison sentence for actions not resulting in damage to health or property and not threatening public safety or environment;
  3. Institution of criminal proceedings for multiple infractions of statutory rules for organization or holding of public assemblies before respective judgments on all administrative cases under Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation have entered into force;
  4. Reliance on administrative case files used as evidence within the criminal proceedings despite the fact that a defense attorney was not involved at the stage of administrative proceedings.

The Russian Constitutional Court found that Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code does not contradict the Russian Constitution. However, in the view of the arguments submitted by the applicant, the Court elaborated the constitutional meaning of Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code. This interpretation precludes further application of the challenged provision the way it was applied in the case of Ildar I. Dadin.

For example, it is specified in the Judgment that the challenged provision does not imply criminal liability for persons who have committed multiple technical infractions of statutory rules for organization or holding of peaceful public assemblies within 180 days.

The Russian Constitutional Court also stressed that prison sentence is applicable under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code only in cases where, as a result of the respective violations, the public event lost its peaceful nature and constitutional values incurred substantial damage.

Moreover, the Constitutional Court opined that Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code can be applied only if the judgments in the respective administrative cases under Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences have come into force.

Finally, the Russian Constitutional Court remarked that the courts trying the criminal cases are to investigate the facts under the administrative cases completely and comprehensively; these facts do not have a res judicata effect within the criminal proceedings. For the purposes of prosecution under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, it is necessary to prove the intention of the accused person to violate the statutory rules for organization or holding of peaceful public assemblies.

According to the Judgment, the federal legislature is entitled to improve Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

The Court found that the judicial acts in the case of Ildar I. Dadin are to be reviewed.

The Institute of Law and Public Policy assisted with drafting of Ildar I. Dadin’s application to the Constitutional Court. At the hearing, Sergey A. Golubok, Ph.D., Attorney at law, represented Ildar I. Dadin as part of the Institute’s project “Enhancing Civic Engagement in Strategic Constitutional Litigation in Russia”.

Full text of the application (in Russian)

Video of the Russian Constitutional Court hearing of January 24, 2017 (in Russian)

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