Imposing Punishment for Belittling the Judiciary Proposed in Russia
February 28, 2019
Viktor Momotov, head of the Russian Federal Council of Judges, has said criminal punishments for “holding the justice system in contempt” should be introduced in Russia. He meant instances when public opinion was manipulated or the judiciary’s authority was belittled in order to exert pressure on courts.
“Obviously, there is a need to submit to public discussion the issue of criminal penalties for holding the justice system in contempt. We are ready to join this discussion, including in connection with the legislation, currently under consideration, that would criminalize contempt for government institutions,” Momotov said, according to Interfax.
Mamotov recalled that, in the Anglo-Saxon legal system, contempt of court [skandalizatsiya pravosudiya] referred to any action or published information meant to belittle a judge’s authority or affect his decision.
A striking example of this would be “indiscriminate and baseless criticism that undermined public confidence in the administration of justice,” Mamotov said.
In Europe, people who commit such violations are fined and even face prison terms.
According to Momotov, there are currently no such penalties in Russia, and so judges were “basically defenseless in the face of the lies spread by unscrupulous media.”