Judgment of the Constitutional Court of 16 October 2012 № 22-П on the review of constitutionality of the rules of part 2 of Article 2 and part 1 of Article 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation in connection with the complaint of the citizen S.A.Krasnoperov

Legal issue: whether part 1 of Article 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code violates the constitutional right to the State protection (including the judicial one)  of rights and freedoms as long as this Article precludes the consideration by Russian courts of an application submitted in the procedure of private accusation, concerning the commission by a Russian citizen of a crime against another citizen of Russia outside of the territory of the Russian Federation?

Ratio decidendi: the Court put an emphasis on the federal legislator’s duty to provide to citizens of Russia who have suffered from crimes committed outside its territory, not only the right to apply to a court, but also the guarantees allowing to realise this right to the full and ensuring a sufficient remedy by means of justice meeting the requirements of equity and equality. However, the contested rule does not allow determining with precision the territorial jurisdiction of criminal cases concerning crimes committed outside of the territory of the Russian Federation. Thereby it not only violates the general legal principle of juridical equality, but also testifies to the federal legislator’s failure to meet his obligation to establish mechanisms of criminal procedure which to the maximum degree simplify an access to justice for victims of crimes, thus leading to a de facto restriction of the very essence of constitutional rights to access to justice and to lawful court proceedings. Respectively, the Court has deemed the contested rule to be unconstitutional to the extent it does not enable determining with precision the territorial jurisdiction of the given category of criminal cases, and provided for temporary rules of determining such jurisdiction which will operate until the gap is filled by the legislator.

Dissenting opinion:
  • The proceedings under this complaint ought to be ceased, since the obstacles impeding the applicant’s access to justice have already been removed, and that the Court ought not to articulate temporary normative rules to fill the gap in the jurisdiction issue, but instead ought to leave this task to the legislator.

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Subject area:
Court Proceedings access to justice criminal procedure