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Russia: Detainees

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Russian government on President Medvedev’s aim to reduce the level of legal nihilism in that country; and if he will make a statement. (307492)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had detailed and wide ranging discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov when he visited Moscow from 1-3 November 2009 including on the importance of the rule of law. I also discussed these issues during my recent meetings with Deputy Foreign Ministers Karasin and Grushko.

We welcome President Medvedev’s focus on the need to strengthen the rule of law in Russia, including his focus on tackling corruption and promoting the independence of the judiciary. Promoting the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary, is a key element of the UK’s and EU’s engagement with Russia. These issues were raised in the last EU/Russia human rights consultations on 5 November 2009. The annual UK/Russia bilateral human rights talks have enabled us to raise our concerns and we will do so again at the next talks planned for early 2010.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently provides funding for work on preventing false charges from being made by law enforcement agencies and increasing awareness of the importance of complying with international human rights standards across the criminal justice system.