The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on legal issues and human rights has expressed concern about the legitimacy of amendments to the Russian constitution allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036.
Details: PACE is talking about the amendments that were made to the Russian constitution in July 2020. The changes made removed presidential term limits, allowing Putin to stay in power until 2036, when he would be 83 years old.
"The overwhelming power of the President resulting from the extremely long term in office combined with the lack of any checks and balances such as a strong parliament, an independent judiciary, free media and a vibrant civil society has turned the Russian Federation into a de facto dictatorship," the parliamentarians said.
The Parliamentary Assembly unanimously approved the draft resolution and recalled the conclusions of the Venice Commission that "term limit waiver for the incumbent President violates both the Russian constitution and international legal principles".
Russian aggression against Ukraine and its aftermath demonstrate that dictatorships "constitute a threat to the international peace and security and to the territorial integrity and political independence of their neighbours", therefore it is "in the interest first and foremost of the people of Russia, but also of Europe and the whole world that democracy be restored in Russia," the committee concluded.
PACE also reaffirmed its support for creation of a future special international criminal tribunal to hold the Russian leadership, including President Putin, accountable for their actions, starting with the illegal annexation of Crimea, the war in Donbas, and the downing of a MH17 flight.
PACE will hold a full debate on this topic next month.
Background: The ministers of justice of the Council of Europe member and observer states adopted a declaration setting out a number of principles (the Riga Principles) to achieve comprehensive accountability for the Russian Federation‘s aggression against Ukraine and to ensure reparations for all those who have suffered in the war.