MOSCOW, November 7 (RAPSI) – Russia has waived its right to request the referral of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for fresh consideration, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
“The Russian authorities haven’t sought referral of the case to the Grand Chamber and have not been notified by the ECHR about such a motion on the applicant’s behalf,” the agency quoted the Russian Ministry of Justice’s press service as having said.
The ECHR held last July that the charges filed against Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev were brought in accordance with the law, but that their rights had been violated in connection with the court proceedings and their placement in remote Siberian penal colonies.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev both formerly served as top managers of Yukos, which was once one of Russia's largest oil companies.
In the early 2000s, Russian authorities accused YUKOS executives of embezzlement and tax evasion. In 2005, the court sentenced Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to eight years in prison for fraud and tax evasion.
Both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev turned to the ECHR complaining that the criminal proceedings brought against them were unfair.
Both men specifically raised their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights (Convention) to a fair trial within a reasonable time. On this point the ECHR disagreed, finding that there had been no violation of the relevant article of the convention in connection with the judge's impartiality, or with the time and facilities granted for the defense team's preparation.
A violation of the Convention's article guaranteeing fair trial rights was found however with regard to breaches of lawyer-client confidentiality and the trial court's unfair taking and examination of evidence.
With respect to their transfer to penal colonies in remote corners of Russia, both raised their right to respect for private and family life. On this point the ECHR agreed, finding that their right to such had been violated on account of their transfer to distant penal colonies thousands of kilometers from Moscow.
Khodorkovsky further raised his rights to the protection of property based on having been ordered to reimburse Yukos' tax arrears to the State, and to individual petition, based on allegations that his lawyers had been subjected to harassment. On the first point, the ECHR agreed. On the latter point, the ECHR agreed as well.
The Court ordered Russia to pay EUR 10,000 in non-pecuniary damages to Khodorkovsky within three months of the judgment becoming final.
The Russian Justice Ministry claimed soon after the ECHR handed down its ruling that under new circumstances. the conviction against Khodorkovsky might be reviewed and his criminal case reopened.
Khodorkovsky is currently serving out his prison sentence in a Karelia Region penal colony. Lebedev is presently serving out his own in the Yamalo-Nenets region of Russia's western Siberia.