President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear colleagues,
Before we turn to our today's agenda, I would like to recall that today Moscow is holding a day of mourning for the victims of yesterday's suicide bombings in the Moscow metro. I would like to say once again that we all grieve for these losses, for the people killed in this terrorist act. Of course this is a terrible tragedy, an outrageous crime – this is evident to all.
Nevertheless, in today's meeting dedicated to the development of the judicial system and administration of legislation, I think we could focus on improving legislation aimed at preventing acts of terrorism, on the work of various departments charged with investigating such crimes, and on other procedures relating to transportation security and safety of people in crowded places.
Of course I think we have reason to revisit issues related to the proper administration of justice under terrorist legislation – under the “terrorism” and related crimes article — and to talk about the need to improve such practices. Perhaps you too will want to make some suggestions in this regard.
I raise this topic today not only because we are in mourning, but also because in the very near future we will once again be holding meetings that I mentioned yesterday, meetings related to legislative changes in this area and the preparation of special regulations. In this regard, I think that consultation with representatives of the judicial community will come in handy.
Well, there are a couple of topics that we need to consider today. Of course we have agreed to meet regularly to discuss improving the legislation on legal proceedings and the practical issues of justice, together with improving the status of judges. In particular, today we planned to discuss the issue of awarding qualification classes to judges as one of the challenges for the judicial system. There are also questions concerning the retraining of judges. And another issue that we agreed to take up – that is the introduction of simplified pre-trial procedures for criminal cases involving minor crimes.
Last time, I think, we touched upon the possibility of introducing extrajudicial debt recovery procedure for taxes and levies owed by individuals who are not private entrepreneurs – the Supreme Arbitration Court requested this. This creates certain problems for the judicial system: there are many such cases, but they are penny ante cases, and our justice system is suffering as a result. And I think we should also talk about how we can improve the justice system so that it can handle such cases more efficiently and whether we need to use judicial methods here at all.
Let me remind you about another issue: it relates to observing the deadlines for hearing cases in Russian courts. Incidentally, this subject comes up periodically at the international level, which of course does not reflect well on our country. Therefore, the issue of introducing more effective remedies at law remains a priority. That's why I gave instructions to develop specific legislative mechanisms that guarantee citizens and organisations the right to trial within a reasonable time and the right to execution of judgment – also within a reasonable time.
Violation of the above terms should result in awarding a just compensation. The Presidential Executive Office together with the Supreme Arbitration Court and Supreme Court has prepared drafts of the relevant documents; last week I submitted them to the State Duma as a presidential legislative initiative. I think this will act as an important safeguard of citizens' rights, their right to effective justice.
I also expect that the State Duma will soon consider the bill.
That is not all: there are other pressing issues which we, dear colleagues, agreed to discuss together. So let's begin our work.