Russia's Medvedev Says Moscow May Revise Moratorium on Death Penalty if Necessary
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow may revise the moratorium on the death penalty in the country in the event of arising necessity, as there are no more international restrictions on the matter after the suspension of Russia's membership in the Council of Europe, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has told Sputnik.
"This is a very complicated issue. It is the issue of the world outlook, philosophy and morale. One can have different attitudes toward the death penalty. Therefore, there have always been opposite points of view. Nevertheless, we can say the following now: the motive for several decisions adopted by the [Russian] Constitutional Court was undoubtedly driven by the participation of our country in the Council of Europe conventions. Now, these conventions are no longer valid for us," Medvedev said.
Medvedev added that the moratorium on the death penalty is not directly related to Russia's membership in the Council of Europe, however, he said, there are no more restrictions on the issue.
"This is a sovereign decision, it really has nothing to do directly with participation in the Council of Europe, although there is undoubtedly an internal link. There are no restrictions now in this sense, but it is a very complex issue, which concerns not only the legal but also the moral component because even the basic, canonical sources of various religions have very different answers to this question. And this is the first thing one pays attention to when discussing the topic of the death penalty in any given country," Medvedev said.
The deputy chairman said that Europe abandoned the use of the death penalty some time ago, and Russia followed this decision. However, the United States, China and several other countries still sentence to death those criminals who had committed particularly grave crimes, murders in particular.
"The contemporary situation is the following: international grounds are gone, there are internal legal positions of the Constitutional Court. These legal positions are based on the current legal order, on the current crime situation. I assume that if all is calm, these legal positions can remain as it were. But these legal positions are also not eternal, if something changes in the life of society, then these legal positions can also be revised," Medvedev added.
The chairman said that decisions of the court are not "a sacred scripture", they can change. He recalled the historical example of the reinstatement of the death penalty in the Soviet Union after a surge in violent crimes, including murders.
Medvedev earlier had said that the suspension of Russia's membership in the Council of Europe was "a good opportunity to restore a number of important institutions for the prevention of particularly grave crimes in the country, such as the death penalty for the most dangerous criminals."
Chairperson to Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Valery Fadeev has told Sputnik that the question of the reinstatement of the death penalty in the country may arise in the investigation of war crimes.
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