The meeting was timed to coincide with the 290th anniversary of the formation of Russia’s public prosecution office and was attended by the heads of prosecutorial delegations from 30 countries.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
I will take this opportunity to congratulate Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office, all of its prosecutors and employees, the Prosecutor General, on the significant date which is being commemorated now. It is certainly a good reason to meet and discuss the role of public prosecution offices in the contemporary world.
The fact is, almost three centuries ago Peter the Great founded a new state institution intended to supervise adherence to the law in the Russian Empire. Since then, the functions and powers of the public prosecution office have gone through various changes and even its name was sometimes different so the office has not always had the name that it has today. But nevertheless, the key component has remained intact, the public prosecution office’s mission to ensure the rule of law, to guarantee and protect the rights and freedoms of every individual and every citizen.
I believe the current generation of prosecutors is continuing the traditions of its predecessors commendably. Many of my personal friends work as prosecutors so I know firsthand how difficult and demanding this job is.
I would like to sincerely thank all our foreign guests who responded to our invitation and came here to participate in these events. I see this as a sign of respect for the institution of prosecution office overall, and for Russian prosecution office as a reliable partner and equal member of the international prosecution community. I am certain that everyone present is united not only by the legal profession or membership in the legal community, but also by a special respect for justice and the laws that we are all called upon to guarantee.
As you know, our public prosecution office is one of the most important elements in our governance system. It makes a significant input into developing the modern democratic state in our nation, strengthening law and order, and protecting the rights of the people of the Russian Federation. Its powers are also changing. Prosecutors are actively involved in criminal prosecution, while their powers, tasks and functions of protecting the interests of individuals, as well as the interests of socially valuable organisations and entities, and especially of socially vulnerable categories of the population have been expanded, which is of major importance given the current situation in the country.
I think it is extremely important to continue using the potential and experience of the Russian prosecution office more effectively, including when it comes to shaping legal policy, preventing crime, and educating, in terms of law observance, the society, all of the social groups and certainly the young people.
As we strive to improve the performance of the public prosecution office, we are constantly taking into account global experience, foreign experience, as well as documents adopted by international organisations, including international and regional associations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Council of Europe, and the International Association of Prosecutors.
We welcome the development of recommendations by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to its member states on the prosecutors’ role outside the criminal prosecution system. The European prosecutors should have well defined standards, modern standards of prosecutorial activity in all areas where their efforts may be applied, in all spheres of social relationships. We hope that this work will also be completed soon.
I want to once again use this occasion to thank you, colleagues, for your fruitful cooperation with the Russian prosecution office (this is truly exceptionally important to us), and for the legal assistance you provide to us in criminal cases. I hope that this kind of cooperation will be growing in every area, in areas that are common challenges to the entire civilised world, such as organised crime and drug trafficking, as well as matters pertaining to improperly-obtained property, including the confiscation and restitution from abroad of properties obtained by criminal means. I do not doubt that over the course of today’s event, which is generally celebratory in nature, you have nevertheless discussed professional issues. This is normal for professional communities.
I would like to wish all of you good health in 2012. I hope that the cooperation between the Russian prosecution office and your prosecutorial agencies will be strengthened.
That is all I had to say in my opening remarks. I invite everyone to participate in the discussion.