Today, 26 march 2014

International Co-operation

Co-operation with international agencies and organizations, as well as with the competent authorities of foreign states is one of the high priorities of the activities of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation.

1. The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation is the Russian competent authority which forwards to foreign states requests for extradition of persons for bringing them to justice or enforcing their sentences and deals with all requests for extradition of persons from the Russian Federation.

The decision to grant or to refuse extradition is taken by the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation or one of his deputies. Any decision to grant extradition may be appealed to a court and the final judicial instance in such cases is the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

In accordance with the Russian laws, extradition is carried out on the basis of international treaties or the principle of reciprocity.

The Russian Federation has bilateral or multilateral international treaties aimed especially to regulate the issues of extradition, with 64 states. In particular, the Russian Federation is a Party to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition and the 1975 and 1978 Additional Protocols thereto; it is also a Party to the 1993 Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Cases and the 1997 Protocol thereto, concluded within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

During recent years, co-operation of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation with the competent authorities of foreign states in relation to extradition became much more intense. Thus, in 2007 more than 1900 foreign requests for extradition of persons from the Russian Federation were processed, and this figure is higher than that of 2006 (most of the requests processed were received from Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Belarus).

Last year the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation granted extradition to the competent authorities of foreign states in relation to 1101 persons, that is more than in 2006.

In 2007 the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation forwarded to the competent authorities of foreign states 463 requests for extradition of persons for bringing them to justice or enforcing their sentences in Russia, i.e. 10% more than in 2006.

The same year 283 Russian requests for extradition of persons were executed abroad, and that is 25% more than in 2006. The geography of the co-operation in the sphere of extradition is widened. Apart from such States as Austria, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, with competent authorities of which the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation permanently co-operates, in 2007 Russian requests for extradition were executed in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, South Africa.

Most of Russian requests for extradition were executed in our CIS neighboring countries: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. But the number of our requests executed in the States outside the CIS, increased twice.

Of course, in some instances both the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation and the competent authorities of foreign States made decisions to refuse extradition. Thus, in 2007 our foreign partners refused to extradite persons to Russia in 26 cases, and it should be noted that the number of refusals from the States outside the CIS was 30% less as compared with 2006. Russia refused to extradite to the foreign states more than 300 persons, that is 10 % less than in 2006.

The main reasons of refusals to extradite persons both from Russia to foreign States and from foreign States to Russia are as following:
- the person, whose extradition is requested, has the citizenship of the requested State;
- the offence, in respect of which the extradition of a person is requested, is not a criminal offence in the requested State;
- lapse of time for making the person wanted criminally liable according to the laws of the requested State.
- the status of refugee was granted to the person whose extradition is sought, in the requested State.

As for the rest of the requests for extradition, received both by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation and by the competent authorities of foreign States, other decisions were taken, including those to postpone extradition and to arrange the search of the fugitives concerned.

2. The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation actively interacts with the competent authorities of foreign States in the sphere of rendering legal assistance in criminal matters, which is conducted on the basis of the international treaties and the principle of reciprocity.

The Russian Federation has special bilateral and multilateral international treaties on legal assistance in criminal matters with 67 States. In particular, Russia is a Party to the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and to the 1978 Additional Protocol thereto, as well as to the 1993 Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters and the 1997 Protocol thereto, concluded within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In 2007 the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation processed some 3150 requests for legal assistance in criminal matters, received from the competent authorities of foreign States, that is 30% more than in 2006. On the other side, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation submitted to the competent authorities of foreign States more than 2700 requests for legal assistance.

Besides, last year the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation processed 165 foreign requests for criminal prosecution of those Russian nationals, who committed crimes outside the frontiers of the Russian Federation. With respect to such requests received earlier, 74 persons were convicted by Russian courts and sentenced to different types of punishment in 2007. For example, in March 2007 the Russian national Bakaev A.P. was convicted of homicide committed in the territory of Switzerland and sentenced to 19 years of severe imprisonment.

3. Inter-agency co-operation between the Prosecution Service of the Russian Federation and its foreign partners is carried out on bilateral and/or on multilateral basis.

At present the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation has bilateral inter-agency agreements, memoranda of understanding and other arrangements on co-operation with foreign authorities from 31 States.

Pursuant to such agreements, co-operation is conducted, in particular, by exchanging experience and legal normative acts, holding mutual workshops and seminars. In the agreements signed in recent years it is envisaged that bilateral consultations may be hold at the stages of preparation and execution of particular requests for extradition and legal assistance in criminal matters. On the basis of the agreements with the competent authorities of a number of foreign States there are programmes of co-operation for a certain period (usually for 1 or 2 years) signed and implemented, according to which particular events (workshops, visits of specialists and delegations, etc.) are carried out.

To foster implementation of the provisions of the 1999 Treaty between Russia and Belarus on Creation of the Union State, the Joint College of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus was established on May 15, 2008 in order to promote bilateral co-operation in the fields of ensuring of legality, law and order, human rights and freedoms, and in combating crime. During the first session of the Joint College, which took place on the same day, the Charter and the Rules of Procedure of the Joint College were adopted.

The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation takes also an active part in the events related to legal co-operation and organized by various regional and universal international organizations, in particular, the United Nations (UN), the CIS, the Council of Europe, the European Union (EU), the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Co-operation Organization.

For example, within the framework of the UN representatives of the Russian Prosecution Service take part in annual sessions of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation participates in the work of the Coordination Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS Member States. In October 2007 in Yerevan, Armenia, 16th session of this Council was held, where Mr. Yu.Ya. Chayka, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation was reelected as the Chairman of the Coordination Council. The next session is planned for summer 2008.

Besides, the Prosecutor General’s Offices (Prosecution Services) of the CIS Member States signed a number of multilateral agreements on interaction in some specific areas, e.g. on co-operation:
- between educational establishments and scientific research institutions of the Prosecution Services (2005);
- in combating terrorism and other kinds of extremism (2006);
- in the sphere of protection of rights and legitimate interests of juveniles (2006);
- in combating corruption (2007).

The representatives of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation participate actively in the work of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) established in June 2005 as a consultative body of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. In particular, on the initiative of Russian prosecutors in November 2007 the CCPE adopted Opinion No. (2007)1 ‘Ways of improving international co-operation in criminal justice field’, which was submitted for consideration to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

On July 1-3, 2008, in St. Petersburg the Russian Prosecution Service, together with the Council of Europe, will hold the Conference of the Prosecutors General of Europe on the theme “The role of the public prosecution in the protection of human rights and public interests outside the criminal law field”.

The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation takes an active part in the sessions of Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council, held twice a year, in the course of which the issues of implementation of the ‘road-map’ for common space of freedom, security and justice are discussed. Co-operation is also conducted with Eurojust, the body of the European Union, which deals with extradition and judicial assistance in criminal matters.

Regular contacts with the heads and representatives of the competent authorities of some partner states are maintained during the sessions of the Prosecutors General of the Member States of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO), which unites China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tadjikistan, and Uzbekistan. The 8th session of the Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States will take place in Russia in April 2009.

The representatives of the Prosecution Service of the Russian Federation participate in the activities of a number of international non-governmental organizations, which operate in the legal field. For example, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation is a member of the International Association of Prosecutors and the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities.

The General Department of International Legal Co-operation