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Enhancing Civic Engagement in Strategic Constitutional Litigation in Russia (2016-2018)

The Project is aimed at empowering human rights organizations to engage in constitutional rights litigation as essential actors. It involves establishing a dynamic network and developing lawyers’ and organizations’ capacity to use constitutional justice for protection of human rights and freedoms. The project makes a substantial focus on supporting their initiatives and providing them with necessary tools for making progress in further strengthening respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The project is intended to strengthen the role of Russian human rights organizations (HROs) and defenders in protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms through strategic constitutional litigation. To achieve this goal, it is crucial to improve the capacity of HROs and individual defenders to engage in strategic constitutional litigation, build a strong community of constitutional litigators and provide them with expert support.

The main activities of the project will include rendering legal advice and representation of applicants at the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC). Also, the Project provides for selection of regional litigation support units (in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Voronezh, Belgorod, Rostov-on-Don and Novosibirsk) among HROs, NGOs, bar associations and leading law schools’ clinics for close joint work. These organizations will serve as the basis for conducting professional seminars for 30 prospective trainers in these regions and multipliers and at least 450 practicing lawyers. In this part, it is expected to establish a strong network of lawyers able to promote constitutional litigation as a tool for human rights protection and assist in bringing issues of public importance before RCC.

During the upcoming three years, the Institute for Law and Public Policy in partnership with Pro NGO! e.V and local litigation units will seek to raise public awareness of landmark judicial decisions affecting human rights, as well as procedures and preconditions for effective enforcement of the Russian Constitution and international human rights treaties through a number of actions: preparation of a manual on submission of constitutional complaints to RCC, supporting an online resource on strategic constitutional and international litigation, arranging webinars on current RCC and ECtHR case law, and maintaining a systematized catalogue of RCC and ECtHR judgments.

A large part of the Project realization will be devoted to the promotion of amicus curiae briefs preparation as a tool to provide RCC with relevant studies and insights for better presentation of legal issues of specific cases and maintaining a dialogue with the civil society. Trainings and roundtables will help to form a pool of HROs ready to act as amici curiae in constitutional rights cases before RCC.

On a wider scale, in the mid- and long-term period the Project will help raise the effectiveness of the Russian constitutional justice system and increase the level of constitutional rights protection.

For further information, please visit www.ilpp.ru.