ST-PETERSBURG, July 3 - RAPSI. The Constitutional Court, which on Tuesday began the hearing of the constitutionality of a yet to be ratified protocol on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, has refused to summon ministers or other officials to the proceedings.

A representative of the MPs who initiated the case requested to summon presidential aide Elvira Nabiullina, Minister of Economic Development Andrei Belousov, head of the Federal Customs Service Andrei Belyaninov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

After spending a while in the deliberation room, the judges decided to dismiss the request.

The accession protocol was signed on December 16 and is awaiting ratification. Under WTO standards this procedure should be completed by July 23. Thereafter Russia will be a full member of the WTO.

The applicants claim that the protocol submission to the lower house for ratification was in breach of regulations: the order in which the documents were presented was incorrect and regional authorities have not given their consent to the protocol.

In addition, the applicants have questioned the compliance of some of the protocol provisions to the Constitution. They believe the provisions infringe on the right to qualified legal assistance and the administration of justice by state courts alone.

They are also seeking the suspension of the ratification, pending the court's decision.