Seminar “The Incitement of Hatred and Enmity: Legal Means of Counteracting the Danger and Problems in Applying the Law”
The seminar ”'The Incitement of Hatred and Enmity: Legal Means of Counteracting the Danger and Problems in Applying the Law” took place in Moscow October 26, 2006. It was organized by the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Information and Analytical Center “SOVA”.
The seminar was attended by representatives of governmental structures, judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies, as well as by NGOs and expert organizations dealing with crimes motivated by hatred. The main purpose of the seminar was to discuss the ways how to better the legal mechanisms of struggle against such crimes and to improve the interaction between governmental and social institutions in this area.
From a wide range of issues connected to counteracting the crimes motivated by hatred, the organizers selected two the most important problems: 1) the changes in “anti-extremist” legislation and 2) the process of making examination in cases, dealing with accusation of hatred and enmity incitement.
The opening address to the audience was made by Ella Pamfilova, Chairman of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation.
In the discussions, concerning both questions of the agenda, there took part the representatives of the relevant committees of the State Duma and the Council of Federation, Federal Registration Service (Rosregistratsiya), Federal Service of supervision under observance of legislation in the sphere of mass media and protection of cultural heritage (Rosokhrahkultura), Prosecutor General’s Office, Constitutional Court, Human Rights Ombudsman, the Chamber of Commons, Scientific Research Institute of Prosecutor General’s Office, Federal Center of Court Medicine, a number of institutes of Russian Academy of Science, Moscow State University, public organizations from Moscow, Sent-Petersburg and several other cities, including the Institute of Human Rights, Independent expert-lawful council, “Layers for constitutional rights and freedoms”, the Fund of publicity defense, the Center of extreme journalism and others, - around 50 persons in general.
The participants agreed that the existing legislation on the whole is adequate to counteract the crimes motivated by hatred, but it needs to be perfected. One of the main guidelines of such perfection must be a more precise definition of the basic juridical norms in a way, which would allow excluding the opportunities for extended and arbitrary interpretation of theirs and improving the quality of applying the law.
It was decided to make an inquiry in order the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General’s Office to generalize and analyze the court and pre-court practice of cases of extremist activities and crimes caused by national, religious or other hatred, and to publish these results. Based on this work, it will be possible to extend and to improve training programs for the staff of Prosecutor General’s Office and other law enforcement agencies.
It’s also necessary to better essentially the cooperation between expert organizations and appropriate official bodies, which are involved in cases of hatred incitement, for providing the qualified expertise and attraction the qualified and impartial experts. It’s necessary to create the list of recommended experts and expert organizations. It was also agreed to make every effort to wider publishing of expertise in cases of hatred incitement.
It was agreed to continue working consultations under both themes of the seminar with participation of relevant state organizations, expert organizations and public units for working-out concrete recommendations. Working group made from the representatives of relevant state organizations, expert organizations and public units, framed under the Council, will follow this direction.