President Vladimir Putin: Vladimir Petrovich, I am listening.
Vladimir Lukin: We are meeting for the second time since I started working in this position. There is a lot to talk about. But first of all I would like to fulfil my obligation and present you with my first report as human rights commissioner. It is a special report “Problems on improving the activity of juries in today’s Russia”. It is no coincidence that the topic of the first report is juries, because perhaps to a greater degree than many other things in legal affairs, it is in between public and legal affairs. Juries are an institution where a significant role is given to public representatives. And as you well know, in pre-Soviet Russia, this court played a very important role in life in the country. Now it is only just being brought into operation, and many issues have arisen since it has started working.
On the one hand, the vast majority of citizens admit that it is a very necessary, progressive measure, which needs to be developed, and I fully agree with this. This is the tone of the report.
But on the other hand, as juries are a part of our society, the practice of using juries without the necessary experience shows that there are very serious problems connected with people’s momentary passions, with various types of attendant circumstances, with the correct or not quite correct selection of jury members, and with problems of bureaucratic pressure. All these issues are examined here, and I will of course bring this report to the attention of lawmakers and legal authorities, but we must start from the beginning.
Mr. Putin: I will be happy to look at this report. Juries in Russia have a short but very lively history. And today, there have already been cases that have undoubtedly been given special attention from society.
We well know the advantages or disadvantages of this system. As you said quite rightly, a jury is a reflection of the state that society as a whole is in. This is why we must undoubtedly improve the system of juries, but we also need to see which processes are taking place in society as a whole, and evidently we need to react more carefully and effectively. This is of course a more important and wider-scale issue that the actual issue of juries, although it is undoubtedly a very significant tool. I will be happy to look at the report with you, let us work on this, and look at it more closely together with deputies.
Mr. Lukin: Of course, with all types of courts. This is a very important matter. Sometimes there are statements in the press that society is “not ready”. What do they mean, “not ready?” If we are not ready, then we will never become ready without practice. If you never throw a person in the water, they will never learn to swim. So we need to learn to swim. We are trying to help.