One Hour and Eighteen Minutes

Here’s my latest blog for Huffington Post UK:

With the wave of oligarchs that continue to flock to London to battle out their grievances, sadly embezzlement scandals and corruption are associations we regularly make with Russia nowadays.

As Russia’s recent accession to the WTO has brought corruption in the country under renewed scrutiny, a play showing at London’s New Diorama Theatre has also shed new light on the lesser-known aspects of the Russian judicial system.

One Hour and Eighteen Minutes
, written by Elena Gremina and translated by Noah Birksted-Breen looks at the run-up to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison cell in 2009, having been arrested after he stumbled across a cover-up by state officials to embezzle an estimated $230m (£146m) from the Russian treasury.

The timing of the play couldn’t be more poignant since on Friday 16 November the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which will impose visa sanctions and asset freezes on 60 Russian officials implicated in Magnitksy’s death.

Published on 27 November 2012. Read on here

Chávez re-election unlikely to spell victory for the rule of law

Here is my latest piece published in the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

After a record 80 per cent of the population turned out to vote in the Venezuelan national elections last month, on 7 October it was finally revealed that Hugo Chávez, head of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) was to be re-elected, this time winning 55 per cent of the vote, giving him a nine per cent margin over rival Henrique Capriles.

Although this is the fourth time in 14 years that Chávez has been re-elected, his lead in 2012 is considerably smaller than in the 2006 elections, when he gained some 63 per cent of the vote. As the Western media continues to cast doubt on the fairness of the elections, lawyers and analysts have questioned the significance of this year’s election results, and the impact they will have on the rule of law in the country going forward.

‘It’s worth highlighting that around 75 per cent of those that voted for the first time in these elections voted in favour of Capriles, which I think gives out a clear message,’ stresses former IBA President Fernando Peláez-Pier, Partner at Hoet Peláez Castillo & Duque in Caracas.

Published on 14-11-12. Read on here

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