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Russia president calls for judicial reforms to stem shift to Europe rights court

[JURIST] Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday proposed [transcript, in Russian] that Russian courts become more transparent in order to restore faith in the justice system and prevent people from turning to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. Speaking at the seventh All-Russian Congress of Judges, Medvedev said [Moscow Times report] that the ECHR cannot and should not replace Russian courts. Russia is the source of more applications to the ECHR than any other country. Medvedev proposed measures to improve the quality of judges and provide broader access to court documents. He encouraged the congress to discuss his concerns and make concrete proposals [ITAR-TASS report]. The congress meets through Thursday.

In June, Medvedev said he was committed to improving Russia's human rights record and enforcing the rule of law, reiterating pledges he made at his May inauguration [JURIST reports]. Medvedev, himself a lawyer by training, promised top legal officials he would tackle corruption and intimidation in the Russian judicial system [JURIST report], calling for reforms to better train and support judges. Experts have noted that corruption is rife in Russian courts, and that judges' pay and status are too low to resist pressure to accept bribes. Earlier this year, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson [corporate profile] said that there was little international confidence in Russia's judicial system, and that the country needs to make significant improvements [JURIST report] to attract more foreign investment.

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