Yuri Sidorenko: a judge must be protected by the law and respect of society

- This week, 55 public figures opposed the pressure on the court, drawing attention to the campaign to discredit the judicial system.

- I read a statement of their views in the media and agree with this statement. There were people who had the courage to rebel against public opinion. Many think so, but not all are resolved to say it because they're afraid to fall under the "fire" the media. As today the society imposed entirely different line of thought. We do not mind criticism - we are against the lies, biased information, and attempts to exert pressure on the court, which, unfortunately, today are happen to be in the media and the Internet.

- How to fight with such pressure?

- There should be culture: legal, internal. How to deal with rudeness? Only by upbringing.

- Do you notice an increase of pressure on the courts lately?

- Really there is aggression in relation to justice in Russia. The easiest way to say it is an order of some group, or some politicians, but, in my opinion, it's a primitive explanation, and won't reflect the essence of the processes. They say about distrust of society and its discontent. But the majority of court decisions are not being appealed: 95% of decisions in civil cases and 65% of the criminal. Indeed, there are two sides in civil proceedings of every dispute, but the decision shall be made in one's favor. There are always dissatisfied, but not always, they appeal the unpleasant decisions for themselves. Why there are so many dissatisfied in the media? I do not know, for me, this phenomenon is inexplicable.

- You characterize the attitude to the courts by the word "aggression" ...

- Aggression, sometimes even with anger bordering. The judicial systems of other countries are cite as an example to us, but on the West nobody would allow such attitude to the courts - such statements and declarations. “Critics” just would be sent to prison.

- Don't you associate this trend with a series of scandals around going by now high-profile trials?

-Naturally, these cases reinforce the outbreak of aggression, but it is nothing more than an attempt to put a pressure on the court and an attempt to shatter the confidence of the court decision before its rendering.

- How the Council of Judges may respond to the publications discrediting the Russian justice system?

- If any issue was discussed at the Council of Judges, and it was decided in the form of a resolution, any member of the Council may refer to this decision. If the issue was not discussed, and the decision was not taken, then no one can speak on behalf of the Council. In accordance with the Law the Council in the media is presented by the Chairman of the Council of Judges. But I'll never speak on behalf of the Council, if not stated its official position on some issue. In a last resort, we can state a statement to the publication, otherwise we never gave one to the authority, to the mass media, negative anyway.

- Another "format" pressure on the court, the most extreme of its feature - the violence against judges: the murder of Edward Chuvashov, threats, attempts of certain persons to find the address of Alexander Zamashnyuk - presiding judge in case of the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov.

- This extreme degree of anger and aggression, unfortunately, quite common. Over the last 5 - 6 years there have been 10 - 11 murders of judges. It's tragic, but even worse that the killings were not disclosed, except in a few cases when they occurred on domestic violence. The state must realise all its power to disclose the murders, so somebody doesn't do it again, in order to be aware of raising a hand against a representative of the law. I spoke with an American judge. They had a case of killing a judge, and he said that the government spent to solve the crime more money than to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy. In the U.S., everyone knows that if you raise a hand against a representative of the law, the state and society will do anything to expose customers and performers. We haven't such things yet, unfortunately. In short, in order to a judge could resist the pressure, it must be protected: by the law and by the respect to the court decision, to the judicial profession.

- There is a reverse situation - indiscretions of judges.

- Unfortunately, yes. Over the past two decades, each year from 50 to 100 judges lose their powers. During that time, the procedure of bringing judges to responsibility has changed several times, changed its types, and the number discharged from an office is being irrevocable. The problem is in the point that unworthy people get in a judiciary.

- Perhaps the procedure of appointing judges is imperfect?

- It is far from perfect, but we are constantly working on it. Unfortunately, the contest for the position of judge is small. The work of judge is thankless, heavy, dangerous, plus negative attitude of society. Who wants to be spitted over? In fact, Judges are often appended with the label of a villain. Who wants to try this on? This work is thankless. After all, critics think: what a fun it is - to put people in prison. No, not fun, not at all.

- How has the situation changed with the pressure on the court compared to the 90-th years?

- Then the pressure, oddly enough, was less. Why? It's a complicated question. Many people did not go to court, they solved problems on huddles, with protection rackets. When people more frequently  begun to take legal recourse, the pressure increased, attempts to exert illegal influence on the court increased.

- Experts notice that three important public institutes were united by the wave of criticism which has fallen upon them. The militia and army already now are in process of radical system transformations. Whether the same expects the court? After all opinions on necessity of introduction in Russia of a case law were already expressed.

- In fact, the case law already exists. All are oriented to the practice of the higher court. Decisions are published and judges can see how to solve any issues. I see no reason to introduce case law de jure. As to the critisism, the executive and legislative branches are its subject. I can say that, there are some groups that undermine the situation deliberately. But whether they dominate, or not, I do not know. There are fundamental oppositionists in relation to any authority, and the court - it's authority too. The system may be imperfect, but the chaos is worse.

- Chaos often is brought from the outside. How do you refer to the comments of foreign non-governmental organizations and state authorities about judicial decisions taken, in fact, in the Russia?

- I had a conversation with an American judge about six months ago. I showed him "Magnitsky list'', a list of lawyers who must be ostracized. I told him that such statements made by politicians do not contribute to the improvement of relations between the judges of our countries. He was outraged when he saw it. He said that this is unacceptable and it is impossible at them.

 

 (Material provided by the Russian Agency of the legal and judicial information (www.infosud.ru)



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