Russia: trial against lawyer must be monitored

The Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the ICJ requested the Russian Government to allow observers to monitor the trial of Mr. Trepashkin, a lawyer whose arrest was based on planted evidence.

Letter adressed to the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation [full text, PDF]

12 December 2003

Mr. Yuri Tchaika
Minister of Justice
Vorontsovo Pole
109830 Moscow
Russian Federation

Fax: +7 095 916 2903

Dear Sir,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) consists of jurists who represent all the regions and legal systems in the world working to uphold the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights. The ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers is dedicated to promoting the independence of judges and lawyers throughout the world.

We are writing to you regarding the trial of Mr. Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin at the Moscow District Military Court, which will start on 15 December. Mr. Trepashkin is accused of having committed the following crimes: Disclosure of State Secrets (Article 293 of the Criminal Code), Misuse of Official Capacity (Article 285) and Possession of unlicensed weapons (Article 222.1).

As you are aware, on 11 November we wrote to your Government expressing our concern at the arrest and detention of Mr. Trepashkin, which was based on evidence planted by the same officers who later arrested him. In that letter, we urged your Government to release Mr. Trepashkin and to desist from persecuting this lawyer.

One of the main activities of the ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers is to monitor trials in which lawyers or judges are targeted. In particular, the observer evaluates whether the proceedings comply with international fair trial standards. Upon completion of the trial, the ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers publishes a report of its findings, which it sends to Government authorities, the Court and the defendants.

In the framework of this activity, we would like to request your permission for an ICJ trial observer to monitor the proceedings against Mr. Trepashkin on 15 December. We would also be grateful to the Government and authorities of the Russian Federation for all facilities and usual courtesies which may be extended to the ICJ observer for the accomplishment of the mission.

Please receive the assurances of my highest consideration.

Ernst Lueber
Acting Secretary-General

Cc: HE Mr. Leonid Skotnikov
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN Office in Geneva
Avenue de la Paix 15
1211 Geneva 20

Fax: 022 734 4044

Lt. Colonel Sergei Sedov
Moskovsky Okruzhnoy Voenny Sud (Moscow District Military Court)
Stary Arbat 37, Moskva 121002
Russian Federation

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