President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, colleagues and friends,
We are holding this meeting on the initiative of the Commission on human rights under the President. Quite recently, we discussed a series of issues linked with the problems that we will discuss today. The idea to hold today’s discussion arose during that meeting.
The commission has been working in its new line-up for more than in a year, but in this short time, in my opinion, it has been able to become a true link between civil society and the state. It makes a serious contribution to work in a whole range of problematic directions. Among them are citizenship and immigration policies, protection of children’s rights, social control and expert examinations.
The topic of today’s meeting is improving state and civil mechanisms of control that guarantee observance of the law and human rights. This primarily concerns the effectiveness of protecting citizens in law-enforcement practice. Today, there are representatives present from human rights organizations, the legal system, and the law-enforcement bodies. I expect that the discussion among this group will be mutually beneficial. Especially as all of us – both the state and society – have a great deal to do to properly ensure the rights and freedoms of citizens. To ensure that human dignity becomes truly inviolable in our country.
As you know, recently a great deal of work has been done on creating a juridical base for a state of law, and a series of new laws has been passed designed to ensure fair and effective administration of justice. Step by step, the task of humanizing criminal policies is being realised.
Several days ago, amendments to the Criminal Code were passed. They reduce the maximum terms of imprisonment for minors, and also make the conditions of imprisonment milder. At first glance, this is of little importance: it gives people in prison the chance to telephone their friends and family. But I think that for people in this situation, this is a small thing that it was worth paying attention to.
The system of establishing punishment by the total number of crimes has also become much more humane. However, all the innovations in human rights and humanizing criminal legislation will be of little effect if law-enforcement representatives ignore or distort them in their work. And it is no secret that such cases are no exception, and unfortunately not a rarity.
It is clear that this situation can be changed by creating diverse mechanisms of control – state control, including juridical control, and social control. Everyone at this meeting is interested in this without exception. And primarily, the law-enforcement bodies and heads of law-enforcement bodies are interested in it, as they should be guarding democratic values in the country.
That is all that I wanted to say to begin with. During the discussion, I think, we will exchange opinions on many issues, including those that I did not mention in my opening address.