Published: 1 Jun 2005 | By Anna Demeneva

The right to a defence at the discretion of judges


The right to a defender of one’s choice in legal proceedings is guaranteed by international instruments, including Article 6 of the ECHR. At first glance, it would appear that the Russian Constitution conforms to these international standards, yet in reality the interpretation and application of Article 48 of the Constitution and Article 49 of the Criminal Procedure Code mean this is not always the case. The right of defendants to select a defender other than a qualified lawyer (such as an international human rights expert) is often not respected, with judges arbitrarily denying such requests.

In this article, Anna Demeneva outlines the application of these Articles by the Russian authorities, arguing that Article 48 of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the international obligations of the Russian Federation for the defence of human rights. To find out more, click on the link to the full article below.