On 31 December 2021, the third phase of the Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) Project in the Russian Federation (hereinafter the Project) will end.
The Project was implemented over 18 months in cooperation with the Russian State University of Justice (RSUJ), the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and other Russian and international partners.
As in previous phases, the current Project aimed to contribute to the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the Russian Federation. To serve this purpose, the Project aimed to strengthen the capacity of Russian legal professionals (judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other law enforcement officials) to implement the standards set out in the European Convention, in particular Articles 3 (freedom from torture and ill-treatment), 5 (right to liberty and security) and 6 (right to a fair trial).
The Project was funded by the Human Rights Trust Fund of the Council of Europe.
As part of the Project, the following HELP e-courses were translated and adapted to Russian legal practice and are already available for self-study on the HELP platform:
- Prohibition of ill-treatment (Article 3 of the ECHR);
- Right to liberty and security (Article 5 of the ECHR).
Russian versions and national adaptations of the following courses will also be available on the HELP platform in January 2022:
- Pre-trial Investigation;
- Reasoning of Judgments;
- CPT Standards;
- International Cooperation in Criminal Matters; and
- Procedural safeguards in criminal proceedings and victims' rights.
Over the past 18 months, the Project team, in close cooperation with Russian experts Dmitry Gurin, Irina Dudko, Oksana Kachalova, Natalia Kravchuk, Maria Filatova, Marina Khatuntseva, Gayane Shtoyan and others, have delivered distance learning courses to 25 groups of participants (the total number of successful participants reached 549 people) on the following topics:
- Introduction to the ECHR, ECtHR and Execution of Judgments (6 groups);
- Prohibition of Ill-treatment (3 groups);
- Right to liberty and security (9 groups);
- Reasoning of judgments (5 groups);
- Pre-trial investigation (1 group); and
- Child-friendly justice (1 group).
In addition, and despite the difficult epidemiological situation, the following activities were successfully carried out:
- In October 2020 and in May 2021, the annual training courses for Russian civil servants on the implementation of constitutional and international human rights standards in Russian law and law enforcement, were organised by the Council of Europe, the Project and the MGIMO European Training Institute;
- A high-level conference on the role of the Prosecutor's Office in protection of individual rights and public interest in light of the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights was co-organised in St. Petersburg on 7 and 8 July 2021 by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, the Council of Europe and the International Association of Prosecutors;
- On 15 October 2021 in Khabarovsk an international scientific and practical conference "European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: problems of implementation in Russian criminal proceedings" was organised by the Project in cooperation with the Far East branch of the Russian State University of Justice, Khabarovsk regional court and the Commissioner for Human Rights in Khabarovsk region;
- On 24 November 2021 in Nizhniy Novgorod a round table discussion of the topical issues of criminal proceedings in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights was organised by the Project together with the Privolzhsky branch of the Russian State University of Justice and the Nizhniy Novgorod Regional Court;
- On 2 and 3 December 2021 the international practical conference on Child Friendly Justice and trainings by the HELP project took place at the Buryat State University in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia;
- In conclusion, on 8 December 2021, in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, a final international scientific round table devoted to topical issues of criminal proceedings in the ECtHR practice was organised by the Project in cooperation with the Kazan branch of the Russian State University of Justice and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan.
More than 1200 people participated in the events of the third phase of the HELP Project. Among them were mainly representatives of the judiciary, law-enforcement agencies, lecturers from higher education institutions and representatives from other fields of jurisprudence.
Under the Project, with the support of lawyers from the European Court of Human Rights, guidance materials on remedies for complaints of inadequate conditions of detention and judicial review of cases of violence against women and domestic violence were also developed and published. These materials are based on contemporary academic research, international standards and Russian jurisprudence and are addressed to judges, assistant judges, lawyers, academics, teachers and students as well as a wide range of professionals dealing with these issues.
The materials are available in Russian and can be downloaded here.
It is expected that the HELP Project will continue in the Russian Federation in the future.
The project materials, as well as e-learning courses on relevant issues raised in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, are available for free on the HELP platform.
The project team would like to thank our Russian partners and all legal professionals who participated in the Project events for their cooperation!