Motion for a resolution - B7-0427/2012Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the political use of justice in Russia

    10.9.2012 - (2012/2789(RSP))

    to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
    pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Hannes Swoboda, Libor Rouček, Ana Gomes, Knut Fleckenstein, Véronique De Keyser on behalf of the S&D Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0427/2012

    Procedure : 2012/2789(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
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    European Parliament resolution on the political use of justice in Russia


    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to the ongoing negotiations for a new agreement providing a new comprehensive framework for EU-Russia relations, as well as to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010,

    –   having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Russia, in particular its resolutions of 16 February 2012[1] on the upcoming presidential election in Russia, of 14 December 2011[2] on the State Duma election and of 7 July 2011[3] on preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December 2011,

    –   having regard to the Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the sentencing of ‘Pussy Riot’ punk band members in Russia (17 August 2012),

    –   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas the European Union remains committed to further deepening and developing the relations between EU and Russia, which is shown by the Union’s commitment to seriously engage in negotiating a new framework agreement for the further development of EU-Russia relations and whereas the European Union and Russia have established deep and comprehensive relations, particularly in the energy, economic and business sectors and have become mutually interdependent in the global economy;

    B.  whereas there remains concern about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, rules and procedures; whereas the Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights;

    C. whereas the arrest and subsequent death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky represents a substantial case of breaches of human rights in Russia; whereas there is an increasing need for a firm and comprehensive EU policy towards Russia, together with just criticism, including sanctions and restrictive measures when needed;

    D. whereas the sentencing of the members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot to two years of jail for a protest performance against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow Orthodox cathedral is disproportionate, raises serious concerns about the way the Russian judicial system treats citizens and intends to intimidate Russian civil society;

    E.  whereas there are deplorable moves to strip Gennady Gudkov, a member of the Duma from the opposition Just Russia Party and participant in mass protests against President Putin’s rule, of his mandate using a suspicious procedure;

    F.  whereas the Russian Parliament adopted a bill in July 2012 granting the status of a ‘foreign agent’ to Russian non-commercial organisations engaged in political activities and financed from abroad;

    G. whereas recent actions by Russian authorities have infringed upon the rights of the civilian population and free media in Sochi, Russia, evidenced by the continuing harassment of activists and independent journalists in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games;

    1.  Reaffirms its belief that Russia remains one of European Union’s most important partners in building strategic cooperation, sharing not only economic and trade interests but also political and social values;

    2.  Recalls the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chief executive of the Yukos oil company, who remains in prison having been convicted in two separate trials on charges widely held to be politically motivated; considers that his case is a prime example of the politicisation of, and lack of independence in, the judicial system in the Russian Federation; notes that Mr Khodorkovsky’s second trial was described by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute as unfair; notes that Mr Khodorkovsky has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International; calls on President Vladimir Putin to respect fully and implement the findings and recommendations of the Presidential Human Rights Commission with regard to the case of Mr Khodorkovsky;

    3.  Calls on the Council to explore the possibility to establish a common EU list of officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, for the subsequent judicial cover-up and for the ongoing and sustained harassment of his mother and widow, and evaluate the possibility to impose an EU-wide visa ban on these officials, together with other administrative and financial sanctions;

    4.  Expresses its deep disappointment with the verdict and the disproportionate sentence issued by the Khamovnichesky District Court in Russia in the case of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevitch, members of the punk band ‘Pussy Riot’; notes with concern that this case adds to the recent upsurge in politically motivated intimidation and prosecution of opposition activists in the Russian Federation, a trend that is of growing concern to the European Union; reaffirms its belief that this sentence will be reviewed and reversed in line with Russia’s international commitments; expresses its concern with the apparent political union between the Russian state government and the Russian Orthodox Church;

    5.  Stresses that the initiation of the parliamentary political procedure to strip Gennady Gudkov, a member of the opposition Just Russia party, of his parliamentary mandate is widely perceived as an intimidation targeted at the legitimate political activity of an opposition party which supported demands by the protest movement;

    6.  Express its concerns following the adoption by the Russian Parliament of the bill granting the status of a ‘foreign agent’ to Russian non-commercial organisations engaged in political activities and financed from abroad; encourage the Russian authorities to present explanations and clarifications of the content of the law, while misinterpretations might generate serious negative consequences;

    7.  Underlines the importance of the continuous exchange of views on human rights with Russia within the EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations as a way to consolidate our interoperability in all the fields of cooperation and demands an improvement in the format of these meetings in order to gain effectiveness, with special attention for common action against racism and xenophobia and to open this process to an effective input from the European Parliament, the State Duma and the human rights NGOs, whether the dialogue takes place in Russia or in an EU Member State;

    8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.