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The organisation uniting European constitutional justice institutions has been called upon to withdraw the membership of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation

03-03-2022

The President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, Danutė Jočienė, the Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, Aldis Laviņš, and the President of the Supreme Court of Estonia, Villu Kõve, by their joint letter, on 2 March 2022, addressed the Conference of European Constitutional Courts (CECC), the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova, which is currently holding the presidency of the CECC, and the President of the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), Claire Bazy Malaurie, by calling, among other things, for the withdrawal of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation from the CECC due to the aggression conducted by the Russian Federation against the independent and sovereign State of Ukraine.

The joint letter underlines that the situation caused by the aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine is a deep concern to all Europe, state institutions, many international and non-governmental organisations.

By that joint letter, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, and the Supreme Court of Estonia expressed their solidarity and unity with their Ukrainian counterparts and the whole Nation of Ukraine and condemned without any reservations the acts of aggression by the Russian Federation against the independent State of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.

The joint letter of the constitutional justice institutions of the three Baltic States stresses that the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has so far not made any clear statement on condemning the aggression by the Russian Federation against another independent state; moreover, the jurisprudence of this court raises reasonable doubts whether this court follows the universally recognised constitutional principles of the rule of law, democracy, and the protection of human rights; thus, on the ground of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Statute of the CECC, “there is … important reason for concluding that effective co-operation in good faith between the Conference and a member is no longer possible” and, therefore, such a member “may be declared to have lost its membership”.

At the same time, the joint letter of the constitutional justice institutions of the three Baltic States suggests the withdrawal of the associate membership of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus for the contribution of the Republic of Belarus to the aggression conducted by Russia against the independent State of Ukraine.

Furthermore, the joint letter suggests initiating, on behalf of the CECC, amendments to the list of speakers of the 5th Congress “Constitutional Justice and Peace” of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice, which will take place in October 2022, by withdrawing the President of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, Valery Zorkin, from the list of speakers.

The CECC is an organisation established in Dubrovnik (Croatia) in 1972; it unites constitutional and equivalent courts conducting constitutional review in European states. The CECC was established on the initiative of the presidents of constitutional courts of European states and, at present, unites more than 40 European constitutional justice institutions and maintains close relations with the institutions conducting constitutional review in other countries worldwide. The members of the CECC pursue the common objectives of promoting, respecting, and implementing in practice democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Venice Commission is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, providing legal advice to its member states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures in line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.