RUSSIALINK: “Priority of Russian law over international can be affirmed without amendments to Chapter 1 of Constitution – expert” – Interfax

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) – The constitutional amendment proposed by the president regarding the priority of Russian law over international law can be introduced without changing Chapters One and Two of the Constitution, Taliya Khabriyeva, the director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law Under the Government of the Russian Federation, who co-chairs a working group tasked with drafting the amendments, told Interfax.

“This is possible, there will be no contradictions. Article 15 says that the ‘generally acknowledged principles and norms of international law, Russia’s international agreements are part of the legal system.’ Our legal system is led by Constitution, it is both the summit and the foundation. Whatever is incorporated into the legal system must comply with it. There should not be any violation here,” Khabriyeva said.

Under article 135 of the Constitution, the Federal Assembly cannot review Chapter One, this involves a different procedure: convening a Constitutional Assembly, for which Russia does not have a law yet.

Even today international agreements that violate the Constitution are not supposed to be applied, Khabriyeva said.

“[The new amendments] could highlight and specify this point. I don’t want to reveal all secrets, this being the work of the whole group, but there are several articles in the Constitution where this can be easily determined. In particular, Article 79 (part of Chapter 3) says that Russia may participate in a multinational association in accordance with international agreements, as long as this does not restrict the human and civic rights and freedoms nor contravenes the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation,” she added.

Earlier President Vladimir Putin set up a working group tasked with drafting the proposed amendments and approved its composition. The group is also co-chaired by Andrei Klishas, head of the Federation Council committee for constitutional legislation and nation-building, and his counterpart in the State Duma, Pavel Krasheninnikov.

In his Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, the president proposed a number of important amendments to the constitution, first of all the requirement that international laws, agreements and court rulings may only apply in Russia if they do not restrict its citizen’s human rights and freedoms and do not contravene the Russian constitution.