Ways to enhance legislation and address problems in law application practices in investigating certain types of cases, including corruption cases, were the subjects of discussion.
The meeting also examined working conditions and social protection provisions for investigators and financing and equipment support for the law enforcement agencies.
The President also awarded state decorations to a number of officers from the Prosecutor General’s Office and Investigative Committee for services towards strengthening law and order and high achievements in the performance of their duties.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon,
I have held a number of meetings in which investigative officials and judges have taken part. Present today are people from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry’s Investigations Department, investigators, prosecutors, and also members of the parliament and civil society groups.
This meeting’s purpose is to review the current state of affairs, but before we begin the discussion, I first want to give my recognition to the work of law enforcement and investigate officers with whom I have not met previously. You are the ones directly involved in investigating criminal cases, and I therefore want to thank you for your courage (not only those who run around with a gun in their hand need courage), the principles that you must show and hold firm to in investigating any case, and your devotion to your professional duty.
I have gathered you here not just to thank you, of course, although I will indeed do so at the end of the meeting. Apart from thanking you, I will also present decorations to some of you here. But I want first to discuss the situation today and listen to your proposals.
We all know the general issues. I want to examine the current legislative situation and hear your views on the improvements perhaps required, the shortcomings you see, and the problems that have come to light in law enforcement practice in investigating particular types of cases, including corruption cases, which raise a large number of questions among the public. We will also discuss investigators’ working conditions, their financing and equipment support, and everyday routine issues. I hope for a substantial and frank discussion of all of these matters.
Over these last years, at my initiative and the initiative of our political parties, the parliament has passed many laws improving investigative practice. Changes have been made to the criminal and criminal procedure laws. These changes concern many different areas and we can discuss them and the development trends in our criminal and criminal procedure laws, all the more so as these are matters that I have already discussed during meetings with people from the Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service, and Prosecutor General’s Office. Many other laws have been passed too, including anti-corruption laws.
I take this opportunity to inform you that I have just signed the new Federal Law aimed at improving state administration as far as countering corruption goes. It will make checks into civil servants’ income declarations more effective. I spoke about this matter a while ago. Upon request from the law enforcement agencies banks will be under obligation to provide information on financial transactions carried out by state officials. Senators will now also provide income declarations, I mean the members of the Council of Federation, as well as parliamentary deputies at every level, and also regional and municipal officials will all have to file income declarations.
Furthermore, I made a proposal not so long ago that sparked active debate but was finally supported, namely, the proposal to be able to fire civil servants on the basis of loss of confidence in connection with breaches of the law. This is a new step in our practice.
There is one other issue that I bring to the attention of the senior officers of the law enforcement agencies, given that it comes up often in discussions of various matters with our foreign colleagues. I have just submitted to the State Duma the draft law on Russia’s accession to the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. It has been pointed out to us on many occasions that we have not ratified this document and not joined this convention. The time has surely come to do so.
The fight against corruption requires not only the concerted efforts of our law enforcement agencies, but also our public organisations, which work on a broad range of different issues. The public has a vital role to play in fighting corruption and on other issues, especially in today’s modern world and the global information community. I therefore bring this matter to your attention too.