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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Said to Stall EU Court

A leading human rights lawyer accused the Kremlin on Tuesday of deliberately obstructing the work of the European Court of Human Rights because it had been angered by a series of adverse rulings on Russia.

President Vladimir Putin last week expressed unhappiness with the Strasbourg-based court, saying some of its decisions on Russia were political.

Russia is the only one of 46 countries under the court's jurisdiction that has not ratified a reform intended to help the court deal with a backlog of cases and ensure rulings are implemented.

"It is clear that the Russian authorities want to block the activity of the European Court of Human Rights," said Karina Moskalenko, a lawyer who has represented Russian plaintiffs in the European court. "This is lamentable," she said. "If you join an honorable club then you have to carry out the commitments you made as part of that club."

The State Duma on Dec. 20 refused to ratify the document, called Protocol 14, which sets out the reform of the court.

The chamber's Legislation Committee said the protocol would weaken checks and balances on the court's work.

Moskalenko said those arguments were invented to mask the Kremlin's opposition to the court.

Russia is the biggest source of applications to the court, a fact that rights activists say is testament to its lack of respect for human rights and also the lack of independence of its own judicial system.