Russia: Amid trial delays, report urges Europe to move forward on Magnitsky Act

stockvault-the-law143256Here is my latest piece published in the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

As the first posthumous trial in modern Russian history continues to be plagued by setbacks, a report published by the European Parliamentary Assembly may be the strongest indication yet that Europe is getting closer to following the US and passing the Magnitsky Act.

The posthumous trial of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison cell in 2009, began in March in Moscow’s Tverskoi court (see Russia: historic Magnitsky trial brings corruption and rule of law into focus). At that point the trial had already been delayed for two months after Magnitsky’s family and the other defendant, the founder of Hermitage Capital and Magnitsky’s former boss, William Browder, refused to take part in the trial.

The Russian authorities then appointed two lawyers, Nikolai Gerasimov and Kirill Goncharov from Law Office No5, to represent Magnitsky and Browder, respectively. However, the trial has continued to be wracked by delays as one of the state-appointed lawyers, Nikolai Gerasimov, also refused to participate. ‘I have not found a single declaration from relatives requesting the case be reopened,’ he said in court in April to Judge Igor Alisov. ‘Since my participation contradicts the opinion and position of the defendant’s relatives, I suggest that I do not have the right to participate in the trial.’

Published on 28-06-13. Read on here

Russia: Reforming or unravelling?

This is my latest feature piece for IBA Global Insight:MoscowWhen Russia finally joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 22 August 2012, after an 18-year-long hard-fought slog, there were many left wondering if the wait had been worth it – and whether membership would bring any significant change. In a year that saw Vladimir Putin embark upon his third term as the country’s president, it’s unsurprising that few things have changed since last ­­August. Changes that have been implemented appear largely at odds with the new era of transparency promised by WTO membership, instead suggesting some worrying consequences for the rule of law.

One of the most striking incidents to bring Russia’s rule of law into focus in recent years has been the highly publicised case of Moscow-based lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial custody in November 2009. While it’s just one incident, Magnitsky’s plight continues to dominate the headlines worldwide and is a stark reminder of Russia’s track record for human rights violations.

Published on 14-06-13. Read on here

Russia: historic Magnitsky trial brings corruption and rule of law into spotlight

Author: Dmitry Rozhkov

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

Russia is set to make history as the country’s first modern-day posthumous trial gets underway in Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court.

The case, involving deceased defendant Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial detention in a Moscow prison cell in 2009, has attracted worldwide media attention and brought the issue of corruption in Russia and problems with the country’s judicial and penitentiary systems all firmly under the international spotlight.

Another quirk of the trial will see the other defendant, Bill Browder, the founder of investment fund Hermitage Capital and Magnitsky’s client at the time of his arrest, examined in absentia, making him one of the few foreigners ever to stand trial in absentia in Russia.

Published on 06-03-13. Read on here

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

Russia’s WTO accession brings hope of reform

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

In December 2011 Russia’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was approved, after 18 years of hard-fought negotiations. Although the country has been close to entry several times in the past, obstacles had always arisen. In 2008, the war between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia caused Georgia, an existing WTO member, to block Russia’s entry. After a Swiss-brokered deal late last year, however, Russia was finally accepted, and the country became the 156th member of the trade body on 22 August 2012.

Negotiating Russia’s accession to the WTO has by no means been a simple process, notes Salans partner Edward Borovikov, who has been one of the primary lawyers advising the Russian government on joining the WTO since the early 1990s.

Published on 11-09-12. Read on here

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.