Politically-motivated abuses of the criminal justice system

August 7, 2009

Excerpts from the report, pub­lished by the Com­mit­tee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on alle­ga­tions of politically-motivated abuses of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Coun­cil of Europe mem­ber states with rec­om­men­da­tions on series of steps to strengthen the inde­pen­dence of judges and pros­e­cu­tors across Europe to end politically-motivated inter­fer­ence in indi­vid­ual cases.

Inter alia the Com­mit­tee calls for a series of reforms to reduce the polit­i­cal and hier­ar­chi­cal pres­sures on judges and put an end to the harass­ment of defence lawyers in order to com­bat “legal nihilism” in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, as a pre­con­di­tion also for suc­cess­ful co-operation between Russ­ian and other Euro­pean law enforce­ment authorities.

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Declaration by the lawyer Neil Micklethwaite

August 6, 2009

Dec­la­ra­tion by the lawyer Neil Mick­leth­waite filed in the South­ern Dis­trict Court of New York sup­port­ing a for­eign dis­cov­ery claim on behalf of the plain­tiffs. This is a pub­lic legal fil­ing con­tain­ing alle­ga­tions which have not yet been ruled on in a court of law.



Testimony of William Browder. Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

June 23, 2009

”Mr. Chair­man and Dis­tin­guished Mem­bers of the Com­mis­sion, thank you for invit­ing me to appear before you today.

I have been asked to share my thoughts on the rule of law in Rus­sia. Unfor­tu­nately, my own per­sonal expe­ri­ence shaped by fif­teen years of invest­ing in that coun­try con­firms to me that the sit­u­a­tion in Rus­sia is not a pretty pic­ture, and it is get­ting worse.

When I first started Her­mitage in the mid-1990’s, my clients would ask me about the Russ­ian hor­ror sto­ries they had heard of share­hold­ers get­ting wiped off cor­po­rate reg­istries, hav­ing assets stolen by crooked man­age­ment or being the tar­gets of cor­rupt gov­ern­ment offi­cials seek­ing bribes. What I was able to tell my investors back then is that while cor­po­rate gov­er­nance was ter­ri­ble, val­u­a­tions were cheap, and investors would make money as Rus­sia evolved from “hor­ri­ble” to just “bad.” I am here today to tell you that Rus­sia is revert­ing. The investor hor­ror sto­ries that were largely fan­tas­tic in the 1990’s are now com­mon­place. The sit­u­a­tion in Rus­sia is going from “bad” back to “hor­ri­ble” ­ and it will be more than just investors who lose out in this process.

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Keeping politics out of the law

June 23, 2009

A report approved today by the Legal Affairs Com­mit­tee of the Coun­cil of Europe Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly (PACE) has rec­om­mended a series of steps to boost the inde­pen­dence of judges across Europe to end what it calls “politically-motivated inter­fer­ence” in indi­vid­ual cases.

The report, pre­pared by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Ger­many, ALDE), exposes ways that politi­cians can med­dle with the law in four coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing the prin­ci­pal types of crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Europe, analysing high-profile cases such as the drop­ping of the BAE fraud inves­ti­ga­tion and “cash for hon­ours” scan­dal in the United King­dom, or the sec­ond Khodor­kovsky trial, HSBC/Hermitage Cap­i­tal case and Politkovskaya inves­ti­ga­tion in Russia.

Among other things, the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans call for:

• in Rus­sia, a series of reforms to reduce the polit­i­cal pres­sures on judges and end the harass­ment of defence lawyers in order to com­bat “legal nihilism” in Russia.

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