High-powered defendants’ cases to be tried in regions where they have no ties

High-powered defendants’ cases to be tried in regions where they have no ties

The Constitutional Court allowed the transfer of cases to other subjects of the Russian Federation at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office to ensure an even-handed trial.

The Constitutional Court of Russia allowed the Supreme Court to transfer cases of the accused, who have influence in a certain territory, to other regions in order to ensure an impartial trial, Kommersant reports. The transfer will be carried out at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Earlier, the article of the Criminal Procedure Code on changing the territorial jurisdiction of a criminal case (Art. 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation) allowed to transfer cases to other regions without the consent of the accused only in two cases: when it comes to certain articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Banditry, Seizure of Power, etc.) and when the accused threaten the life and health of participants in the trial, as well as in a situation when all judges are subject to rejection. Jurisdiction can now be changed if it is likely that the accused will be able to influence the impartiality of judges. In particular, the new measure concerns the cases the defendants of which are representatives of authority, or persons “having wide connections in power structures, business circles or in the criminal sphere.”

The former Mayor of Vladivostok, Igor Pushkaryov, his brother, ex-Director of Vostoktsement LLC, Andrey Pushkaryov, and former Head of the Municipal Unitary Enterprise Vladivostok Roads Andrei Lushnikov, accused of bribes, abuse of authority and commercial bribery, have already opposed the change. Their case is heard in the Tverskoy Court of Moscow, not in Vladivostok. The Prosecutor General’s Office insisted on transferring the case to another region because of the ex-Mayor’s ties with the Primorye authorities. The state department considered that Pushkaryov would be able to “control commercial enterprises through family members and disseminate information aimed at discrediting the investigating authorities through the media controlled by him.”

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