09:41 Apr. 20, 2016
Legislation signed by Putin in December may disregard international rulings, if they contravene Russia's Constitution
Russia's Constitutional Court has ruled that Moscow may ignore part of a European court judgment in a dispute on prisoner voting rights, marking the first time Russia has used a controversial law asserting its right to reject international court rulings.
The leadership of the Council of Europe responded by saying the Russian verdict left room for compromise, although an international rights watchdog called it a "devastating blow" to victims of Russian injustice.
Legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin in December created a mechanism for Russia to disregard international rulings, including by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), if they are believed to contravene the Russian Constitution.
The December move came months after the same Strasbourg court ordered Russia to pay USD 2 billion to the shareholders of Yukos, the dismantled oil giant once controlled by tycoon-turned-Kremlin-critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Read also Khodorkovsky celebrates as Europe seizes Russian properties over Yukos theft
The Constitutional Court verdict on April 19 stems from a request by the Russian Justice Ministry in February to consider the constitutionality of another ECHR judgment from 2013 calling on Russia to reform its blanket ban on prisoner voting rights. Full story