[JURIST] The Constitutional Court [official website, in Russian] of the Russian Federation ruled [press release, in Russian] Friday that Russian courts must reconsider civil cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website], ordering legislative amendments. The rule previously applied only to criminal and arbitration cases [Russia Today report]. The decision stems from a complaint [RIA Novosti report, in Russian] brought by three Russian citizens who won legal battles in the ECHR, only to find that Russian courts would not rehear their cases. The courts had cited [Radio Svabodna report, in Russian] Article 392 of Russia's Civil Procedure Code, which does not explicitly enumerate cases tried by the ECHR among cases that can be retried.
The Russian Federation has been working to reform its relations with the EHCR. Last month, the Russian Federation Council [official website, in Russian] voted to ratify Protocol 14 [text] to reform the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. In June, the Council of Europe (COE) harshly criticized Russia's judicial system and called for reform [JURIST report]. In recent years, Russia has had the largest number of cases pending in the ECHR out of any COE member-state. In 2009, Russia had 32,600 cases pending, followed next by Turkey, which had 12,800 cases pending, and in 2008 [statistics, PDF] Russia had 27,250 cases pending, followed next by Turkey, which had 11,100 cases pending. In 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed that Russian courts become more transparent [JURIST report] in order to restore faith in the justice system and prevent people from turning to the ECHR.