[JURIST] European countries need to improve extradition and criminal cooperation procedures in order to face the growing threat of international crime, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told the seventh session of the Conference of Prosecutors General of Europe [COE materials] in Moscow on Wednesday. Chaika, who was installed as prosecutor general [JURIST report] by the Russian parliament last month, took the lead in recommending that European countries work together to update their methods of cooperation on multinational criminal investigations. Chaika also applauded last year's decision by the Council of Europe to transform the conference into a permanent body, the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) [COE materials], which will hold its inaugural meeting Thursday. RIA Novosti has more.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the conference [transcript] Wednesday and questioned Britain's 2003 decision to grant asylum to a Chechen rebel suspected on murder and kidnapping charges [Pravda report], saying "We find it hard to explain, for example, why some countries refuse to extradite terrorism suspects and even go as far as to give them some kind of 'political' status. I am convinced that in such affairs there should be strict and complete compliance with the relevant international agreements." Putin also said that other governments' use of Russia's oft-criticized human rights record to apply political pressure is "unacceptable." US Vice President Dick Cheney lambasted Russia [JURIST report] in May and urged it to renew efforts to adopt democratic reforms. Itar-Tass has more. The Moscow Times has additional coverage.