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Доклад Буркова А. Л. на английском языке: "The Attitude and Roles of Russians under 35 - Human Rights and Rule of Law Issues Today and Tomorrow" (доклад на Конференции "40 лет после эссе А. Д. Сахарова «РАЗМЫШЛЕНИЯ О ПРОГРЕССЕ, МИРНОМ СОСУЩЕСТВОВАНИИ И ИНТЕЛЛЕКТУАЛЬНОЙ СВОБОДЕ»: Россия вчера, сегодня, завтра")




   The Attitude and Roles of Russians under 35 - Human Rights and Rule of

                       Law Issues Today and Tomorrow

       Anton Burkov - Currently a Ph.D. candidate in law at Cambridge
    University, Burkov has been on the staff of the NGO Sutyajnik's Ural
    Center for Constitutional and International Human Rights Protection
        for ten years. In 2001 he was awarded the Themis prize "for
     contributions toward the creation of a democratic society and the
                 development of state legal institutions."

   Sutyajnik  (Litigator) is a non-governmental human rights organization
   of  young  lawyers  and  senior law students founded in Yekaterinburg,
   Russia  in  1994.  As a human rights resource center, it helps Russian
   citizens  and  organizations realize their rights by litigating public
   interest  cases,  by  educating  people  about  human  rights,  and by
   informing  them  about  mechanisms  for the protection of their rights
   guaranteed in the Russian Constitution and international treaties. One
   of Sutyajnik's principal goals is to defend human rights by working to
   bring   domestic   legislation   and  practice  into  conformity  with
   international and constitutional standards.

   Through  its  various activities, the ultimate goal of the NGO and its
   young  staff  of  lawyers  and  journalists  has  been  to  develop an
   effective  mechanism  for  making  state  officials and state agencies
   responsible for any violations they commit of the Russian Constitution
   or  our  laws  and  for  bringing  them  to justice. Responsible state
   officials today are the key to Russia's success tomorrow.

   In  the Soviet Union, there was no tradition of state actors' legal or
   material  responsibility  for violations of law. Legislation providing
   for  this  was lacking, with few exceptions (such as the protection of
   drivers  from  abuse of power by the traffic police). Nobody could sue
   the  government  or  its  officials  for violations and ask a court to
   award  compensation  for the consequent damages. The formal reason for
   the  absence of legal responsibility was the proclaimed "lack of class
   conflicts"  in  Soviet  society,  which  was supposed to automatically
   preclude  conflicts of interests between citizens and state officials.
   Unfortunately,  the  reality  proved  to be very different - it caused
   lack of accountability.

   Mikhail  Gorbachev,  after  coming  to power n 1985 announced that his
   main  principle  of  governing  the state would be the priority of the
   rule  of law. The realization of this principle could be achieved only
   in  an environment where the state and its officials were consistently
   held  responsible  for  and financially liable for their violations of
   human  rights  and  abuse of power. Gorbachev understood this clearly,
   and  the  introduction of an appropriate mechanism for its enforcement
   was one of Gorbachev's priorities.

   A  first  step  towards  creation  of  a  "state ruled by law" was the
   adoption  of  a  1987 statute on the procedure for bringing complaints
   against  state  officials  for  human rights violations. In 1989 a new
   version  of this law was passed, and in 1993 the law was adopted which
   remains in force in Russia today. The law provides, in principle, that
   anyone  claiming  there  was a violation of law by state officials can
   bring  the  perpetrator  before  a  court  and  sue  for pecuniary and
   non-pecuniary  damages.  All the civil procedural guarantees had to be
   followed  by the court when considering cases. Cases were decided not,
   as  in the past, by a higher official, who often had issued the orders
   leading  to human rights violations, but by a court. And the applicant
   could ask for compensation of damages.

   Since 1993 many statutes have been promulgated which establish similar
   rules,  but  their implementation is very deficient. It is possible to
   get  a  judgment  against  a particular state official or agency which
   includes the award of monetary compensation to be paid by the Ministry
   of Finance, but its execution is impossible.

   The reason is simple. There is no procedure which allows an individual
   or  a  court to force the execution of a judgment against the Ministry
   of  Finance.  The  bailiff  system, responsible for execution of court
   decisions,  has  no  authority over the execution of judgments against
   the Ministry of Finance. It means that the payment of money awarded by
   a  court  is  totally  up  to  the  good will of the Ministry. No lien
   against its bank accounts, assets, or other property can be imposed.

   This  situation  was  not  noticed by the world community until Russia
   joined  the  Council  of  Europe  in  1996  and  ratified the European
   Convention  of  Human  Rights  in  1998  and  recognised  the right of
   individuals  to  petition  the  European  Court  of  Human Rights. The
   European  Court  is flooded by cases on lack of execution of judgments
   requiring  payments by the Ministry of Finance. As of today 26% of all
   cases  considered  by the European Court are cases against Russia, 25%
   of  which are cases on non-execution of judgments. In other words, the
   European  court  has  turned  into  the bailiff which has to deal with
   Russian  cases. After intervention of the European Court, the Ministry
   of Finance pays awarded compensations within 3 months from the date of
   the European judgment from a designated item of the state budget.

   Of  course, the Council of Europe and the European Court are not happy
   about  this  situation.  In response to their pressure, one would have
   thought that the solution lies in giving the appropriate powers to the
   bailiff  system.  Instead, the Russian government has proposed a draft
   law  creating  a new Russian court to deal with cases of non-execution
   of  judgments  instead  of  the  European Court. It could have been an
   alternative  solution, but it achieves nothing when we read one clause
   of  the  draft  law. It states that the defendant in such cases is the
   same  Ministry  of  Finance.  Once  again  -  no forceful execution of
   judgments   possible,   no  responsibility  of  state  officials.  The
   situation  reverts  to where it stood before perestroika. Today Russia
   is paying off its foreign debts, but accumulating internal debts.

   The   solution   lies   in  cooperation  with  existing  international
   institutions,  particularly  the  Council  of  Europe and the European
   Court  of  Human  Rights.  So  far  this is the only way for a Russian
   citizen to challenge the resistance of the national authorities. A lot
   has  been  done  to  alleviate  the  problem, much of it thanks to the
   efforts  of  young  lawyers  of  Sutyajnik. The defects of the Russian
   government's  proposal  to  secure  payment  of court awards has to be
   explained  to  the European Court. We shall use the Convention for the
   Protection of Human Rights more intensively.

   What is the role of young people in the general human rights movement?
   What  is  the  attitude  of  young  people  to  human  rights  issues?
   Sutyajnik's  young lawyers and journalists rarely apply to work for us
   because they want to dedicate their time to the cause of human rights.
   Most  of  them do not even know what human rights are. Many of them do
   not  make  a conscious choice; they are simply looking for a job. Some
   come  to  human rights NGOs in order to gain experience and then leave
   for  a  law  firm  or  a  corporation. This isn't a surprising - young
   people have many things to worry about.

   Although many young people find jobs in the human rights world without
   any  altruistic  purpose  and  lacking  any  knowledge of human rights
   issues, some rather quickly become devoted to the cause and do amazing
   things.  Some  of them stay for a long time, others leave earlier. But
   if  a  young  man  stays  long  enough,  he leaves the NGO a different
   person.  And  I want to stress that an important mission of NGOs is to
   educate their own employees. They learn about human rights, they learn
   practical applications of law, they see people in grief, they start to
   care  about human rights not just by reading about them but by working
   to  secure them for fellow citizens. And I am very much convinced that
   after  this acquaintance with human rights they will never stop caring
   about them and about social justice.

   The  sad  part  is  that  today getting young people involved in human
   rights activities is more difficult than in earlier times. The goal to
   make  money has become a priority for the young. Today it isn't "cool"
   to devote yourself to legal work in a human rights NGO: no money to be
   made,  no  career  to pursue, and the possibility of being harassed or
   even punished for doing your job. In the late 1990s, our NGO had eight
   or  more  full-time  lawyers and five to eight interns. Young students
   wanting  to  work  as  interns were put on a waiting list. Today it is
   difficult  to find paid interns, not to mention lawyers, and virtually
   impossible  to  find  volunteers.  Students who lack any experience or
   practical  skills  ask  for  a  salary equal to that of an experienced
   teacher.  In  the  1990s,  we were happy to work for free just to gain

   In the 1990s educational opportunities for rich and poor students were
   more  or  less  equal. Today students from wealthy families tend to be
   well-educated,  and the rest usually never get a proper education. The
   rich  are  going  into business and government - busy making money and
   starting  a  career. They view human rights as obstacles in their way.
   The  rest  are angry, looking for easy answers to difficult questions.
   They  aren't  attracted  to the complicated issue of human rights, but
   are  more  likely  to  fall  prey  to xenophobia and nationalism. This
   leaves  human  rights  NGOs  short  of  personnel when the demands for
   securing and defending human rights are increasing.

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15.05.2015г. распоряжением Минюста РФ СРОО "Сутяжник" включена в реестр иностранных агентов.