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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Stands Alone Against Human Rights Court Plan

The State Duma on Wednesday failed to ratify a protocol for changes in the European Court of Human Rights.

The proposal to ratify the measure, known as Protocol 14, got only 27 votes with 138 lawmakers voting against it; the measure needed 226 votes to pass in the 450-seat chamber.

The protocol, which would have to be ratified by all member states of the Council of Europe to take effect, proposes that a member state can be brought before the court if the state refuses to enforce a judgment against it.

It also calls for single judges to be able to decide on a case's admissibility, whereas three judges currently decide.

Russia was the only country that had yet to ratify the protocol, and the measure could not come into force without its commitment, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said.

The protocol was submitted to the parliament by President Vladimir Putin in November, and it was one of the rare cases when the Kremlin-dominated parliament opposed a presidential initiative, which observers said signified the refusal came from the Kremlin itself.

Ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky opposed committing to the measure, saying it would not benefit Russia.

"We don't need to ratify this document because we have a lot of problems with human rights and its coming into force would only harm us," Zhirinovsky said.

Independent lawmaker Sergei Popov supported the measure, saying the large number of cases filed to the European Court of Human Rights by Russians meant they felt they could not be guaranteed a fair trial at home.

"Lawsuits [from Russia] come in such a great numbers because citizens don't trust our own courts," Popov said.