Judgment of the Constitutional Court of 27 March 2012 № 8-П on the review of constitutionality of paragraph 1 of Article 23 of the Federal law “On the International Treaties of the Russian Federation” in connection with the complaint of citizen I.D.Ushakov

Legal issue: whether an international treaty of the Russian Federation (or a part thereof) which affects the rights, freedoms and duties of man and the citizen and at the same time establishes the rules, other than those envisaged by a law, may apply temporarily, provided that such a treaty was not officially published?

Ratio decidendi: the Court has deemed the contested provision to be non-contradictory to the Constitution, because, being interpreted in accordance with the Constitution, it does not presuppose the possibility to apply such international treaty (or a part thereof) in the Russian Federation without an official publication. At the same time, the Court pointed out that Article 15 (part 3) of the Constitution necessitates an official publication of such treaty for everybody's information - otherwise the desire of the State to fulfill at any expense its obligations with respect to other states may lead to the violation of the rights and freedoms of man and the citizen. The lack of official publication would mean a departure from the principles of rule-of-law State, juridical equality and legal certainty as indispensable constitutional criteria of the protection of rights and freedoms of man and the citizen in the territory of the Russian Federation, without which their direct implementation in Russia, as well as constitutionally grounded expectation of respect for and observation of such rights and freedoms by authorities would be impossible.

The Court has obligated the federal legislator to establish within three month a procedure for official publication of such international treaties of Russia. Within the same period their official publication must be accomplished. Upon the expiry of this term, no such treaty may apply further, unless it is published for everybody's information.

Dissenting opinion:
  • In this particular case the Court ought to consider the question on the necessity not only of publication of the treaty, but also of its ratification because that treaty deteriorated the position of the taxpayer.

  • Even if the treaty applied in Ushakov's case would have been officially published, it would still have violated the principle of legal certainty (or “legal security”) anyway.

Document (387.12 Kb)
Subject area:
International Law international treaties