The Russian parliament has passed a pair of bills ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the country.
Tuesday’s move formalised the broken ties between Russia and the Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights body.
The Russian parliament approved two bills, one removing the country from the court’s jurisdiction and a second setting March 15 as the cut-off point, with rulings against Russia made after that date not to be implemented.
The bills were passed nearly unanimously, with only one deputy from the opposition Communist Party voting against them. They must now be signed by President Vladimir Putin before becoming law.
On March 15, Russia withdrew from the organisation, of which the ECHR is part. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe had planned to vote to expel Russia on March 16, in response to Putin’s deployment of troops to Ukraine in February.
Russia has said that it independently decided to leave the Council of Europe, with former President Dmitry Medvedev saying that Russia’s exit from the organisation represented an opportunity to restore the death penalty, which the Council of Europe’s rules prohibit.
Appeals to the ECHR had become a last resort for plaintiffs in several high-profile cases that had been rejected by Russian courts.
Thousands of Russians in recent years have turned to the court as a last resort, after failing to win in Russian courts, on human rights issues ranging from political persecution to domestic violence.
In 2017, the court ordered Moscow to pay compensation to survivors of the 2004 Beslan school siege, who alleged failings on the part of the security services.
“The European Court of Human Rights has become an instrument of political battle against our country in the hands of Western politicians,” Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said following the vote.
“Some of its decisions were in direct contradiction to the Russian constitution, our values and our traditions,” he said in a statement.