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Russia upper house ratifies Europe rights court reform protocol

[JURIST] The Russian Federation Council [official website, in Russian] on Wednesday voted to ratify Protocol 14 [text] to reform the European Convention of Human Rights [text, PDF]. Council members voted 137-0 [results, in Russian] to pass the legislation, following earlier approval [JURIST report] by the State Duma. The ratification process will be complete once Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile] approves the provision [AFP report]. Russia is the last member of the Council of Europe (COE) [official website] to ratify the protocol, which includes reforms to increase efficiency of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website], such as filtering out inadmissible and repetitive cases. Russia was initially opposed to ratifying the protocol, which it claimed was politically motivated.

In June, the COE harshly criticized Russia's judicial system and called for reform [JURIST report]. In recent years, Russia has had the largest number of cases pending in the ECHR out of any COE member-state. In 2009, Russia had 32,600 cases pending, followed next by Turkey, which had 12,800 cases pending, and in 2008 [statistics, PDF] Russia had 27,250 cases pending, followed next by Turkey, which had 11,100 cases pending. In 2008, Medvedev proposed that Russian courts become more transparent [JURIST report] in order to restore faith in the justice system and prevent people from turning to the ECHR.

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