1. Judicial power
Today, citizens of Russia are deprived of the right for a fair and unbiased trial. The judicial system is put under extremely strong administrative pressure and infected with corruption. A bureaucratic vertical has been set up within it. It is incompatible with true justice and serves the interests of security agencies and those who have political power.
The first thing we need to do is abolish the system where the judges are picked by the presidential administration.— Alexey Navalny
Russia needs a true judicial reform that will make judicial system independent from the executive power and Russian citizens — equal before the law. Such a system will not appear instantly, it will require a serious, long and detailed development with the involvement of community of judges and non-governmental organizations. However, we need to take first steps towards strengthening the judicial power and cleansing the court system right now. For that, we need to:
- Make the procedure of judge appointment more transparent and effective by making formal requirements for candidates stricter, excluding all influence of president judges on selection procedures and increasing the role of organs of the community of judges. We need to introduce a 4-year quarantine for judge candidates from law enforcement agencies and court administrations.
- Make prior legal practice and/or work experience in the non-state sphere one of the key criteria when appointing a judge.
- Introduce a procedure that would let justices of the peace elected by the citizens.
- Ensure financial independence of the judicial system by transferring the authority to manage budget funds to the judicial department — a single auxiliary organ for all judicial authorities.
- To demolish the «judicial vertical» that is incompatible with real justice and radically change the institute of president judges. President judges must change every two years based on rotation mechanism or get elected for the same two years without the right to re-election. The distribution of cases between the judges must follow strict rules or be done on a fully random basis. Administrative functions must be transferred to judicial departments, technical organization of courts' work — to court administrators who are not judges themselves. The work of qualification board of judges will become public and transparent, presidential judges will not participate in courts» work in their line of duty.
- As part of the judicial reform, we need to conduct a full rotation of the members of Supreme Court, as well as a lustration of all judges caught participating in unjust or politically motivated processes (a special chamber will need to be created to process statements from victims of such processes).
- To return trust to the courts, it will be important to decentralize the judicial system based on further specialization. In particular, the merging of Supreme Court and Supreme Arbitrary Court will be cancelled. We also suggest to introduce the institute of court investigators that will allow to conduct independent examinations and material inspections during court proceedings. We need to create judicial districts for appeal and cassation courts (whose borders will not be identical to the borders of federal subjects).
- We need to forbid the definitive hearing of the case to be conducted by the same judge who decided on the pre-trial restrictions and investigated complaints on the prosecution of the inquiry in a court of supervision.
- All activities of the judicial system will become available for control by the community of judges and the public. To achieve this, we suggest to make audio and video recording of all court sessions obligatory and grant these recordings the status of official documents.
- Apart from a clampdown on bribetakers, we need to conduct a humanization of criminal law system: modernize the articles related to economic crimes, reduce the ranges of punishments. The main principle of justice must be the restorative approach to the disrupted social relations, which involves compensation of damage instead of punitive measures.
2. Law enforcement agencies and security bodies
'Law enforcement agencies are the frame of the entire state system. Their task is to ensure the safety of citizens and everyone's complete law-abidingness. The current corrupt authoritarian regime of Russia uses the law enforcement system as its own «guard dog», an instrument of redistribution of economic goods and property, persecution of the undesirable and limitation of people's rule.
We need to return to the law enforcement agencies the awareness of their national mission, self-respect and people's trust, free them from the dictate of oligarchy, corruption and political functions.
Today, the law enforcement system is, on one hand, overly centralized, which results in a burden of bureaucratic control from above. On the other hand, it does not at all rely on the assessment of its work from «below» — by the Russian citizens. This vicious situation leads to degradation of the law enforcement system.
To fix the current situation, we suggest the following top-priority measures:
- We will create a standing committee of Duma and Federation Council for control over the activities of law enforcement agencies. Former employees of law enforcement agencies will not be able to become members of this committee. Among the functions of the committee will be organizing a system of public control over police activities. This system will be independent from the bodies of executive power and will be based on an independent monitoring system, opinion polls and citizen reports.
- The reform of law enforcement agencies must serve the goals of federalization and decentralization of control over their activities. The head of Investigative Committee appoints the heads of regional departments of the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor general appoints district prosecutors of federal districts, which unite several federal subjects, the head of regional department of MIA — by the regional legislative authority upon recommendation of the head of MIA, the head of municipal police — by the municipality upon recommendation of the head of regional department of MIA.
- Heads of regional and municipal police report about their activities to the corresponding regulatory body that can pass a no-confidence motion against them. An institute will be introduced for public opinion polls (plebiscites) of trust in municipal and regional police that will be conducted upon request of municipal and regional deputies or citizens.
- We will conduct a structural reform of the police aimed at reducing the management apparatus, phasing out technical service employees, reducing the total number of police members, freeing the police from excessive functions and responsibilities, removing bureaucratic burden form operatives, abolishing the ticket quota system and significantly decreasing the number of statistical reporting.
- Special Police Force will be returned under MIA's control, the numbers of the National Guard will be drastically curtailed.
- The main function of the external control of the police will be eradicating the wretched and illegal practice of torture. The punishments for such crimes will become much stricter.
- The most important factor of improving the work of law enforcement authorities is revising the legislation to determine components of crime that are underdefined and open to interpretation.
- Authority and functions of the prosecutor's office need to be clarified. Its main functions must become: supervising the investigation, supporting the prosecution in court and ensuring compliance with federal laws and human rights by federal and municipal government bodies. Functions of general supervision repeating the functions of corresponding government bodies must be eliminated.
- FSB must be deprived of functions of political investigation. The legislation regularizing its activities must be specified. The status of employees of active reserve will be abolished.
- We advocate full transition to an all-volunteer military. The main factor of Russia«s security is a professional army. Conscript army is ineffective and costs the society too much. For those who want to serve in the military, primary service contracts will be introduced. They will provide opportunities for further education and professional growth.
3. Humanization of justice
Russia needs to humanize its criminal legislation and reform its penitentiary system in order to destroy the system of extra-judicial repressions and the «criminal factory». For that, among other things, we need to:
- Conduct a revision of Criminal Code aimed at clarifying the components of crime, softening punishments for a number of crimes, especially economic crimes, reducing the range of punishment in order to reduce arbitrariness when assigning punishments, replacing arrest with alternative forms of punishment for a number of crimes and upgrading the requirements for pre-trial detention.
- Introduce separate cameras for those arrested for the first time or for a non-serious crime and repeat offenders or those arrested for particularly serious crimes.
- Eradicate tortures in the correctional system, tightening the legislation in this area, introducing the institute of prisoner rights ombudsmen, develop a system of public monitoring commissions and specify their rights, rules of procedure and principles of formation.
- Conduct a large-scale amnesty among those convicted for economic crimes.
- Before the trial, only those regarded as socially dangerous can be put under arrest. Those accused of economic crimes can only be put under arrest under exceptional circumstances.
- To fight drug trade more effectively, we need to radically change our approach to it. Today, law enforcement agency only arrest drug consumers, whereas drug distributors (including those who have support of employees of government and law enforcement agencies) remain untouched. We need to overturn this situation by humanizing the system of responsibility for purchase and storage of «light» drugs and focusing our efforts on fighting distribution and production of heavy drugs that bear grave danger to the citizens and the society.