MOSCOW. Jan 25 (Interfax) – Major amendments have been made to the Russian legal system but accusatory bias and mistrust in judges inherited from “the dark years of history” are still to be overcome, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung.
“Concerning the adjustment of laws, the legal system and the judiciary, we, strictly speaking, have accomplished the essential changes. Our civil and administrative laws are absolutely modern. Take, for instance, our Civil Code – it is the most modern civil code in Europe,” Medvedev said.
Administrative laws “are also quite modern but they continue to be updated,” he said.
Yet, Medvedev admitted that when he was still the president he kept thinking about why the absolute majority of verdicts at Russian courts were accusatory (over 95% or even up to 97%).
“I concluded that the problem was rooted in political and legal awareness and in reporting forms: a judge deems an acquittal inappropriate or impolite because it may call into question conclusions of prosecutors. (The problem) is rooted in the infamous dark years of our 20th century history,” the prime minister presumed.
The judiciary has been modified substantially in the past 20 years to correspond to the new political structure, Medvedev said. But more changes are necessary to build up the confidence of businesses and average citizens.
“A change of court rules is not the problem; the problem is how to build up confidence in the Russian judiciary,” the prime minister said.
“We are well disposed to the Stockholm arbitration court, the London court, the Paris court and other courts, but we also think it is extremely important for Russian and foreign businessmen to trust the Russian judiciary,” the prime minister stressed. So, it is of paramount importance to hear as many economic disputes as possible in Russia, he added.