In the matter of Alexandr Nikitin
Compatibility of prosecution with European Convention on Human Rights.
Edward Fitzgerald is the first and foremost expert of the Convention on Human Rights in Britain, and has conducted numerous cases for the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
- I have reviewed the Amicus Brief submitted by William M Cohen. I agree that the prosecution of Mr. Nikitin’s case involves a clear violation of Article 7 of the European Convention.
- In particular trial for offences defined by references to decrees that had not even come into force at the time of the alleged offence necessarily breaches Article 7’s prohibition of retrospective penal legislation (see Welch v UK).
- Furthermore criminal liability must be determined by reference to laws that are accessible to the citizen. This is a requirement under both Article 7 and Article 5 of the European Convention, and lies at the heart of the principle of legality, and protection from arbitrariness, enshrined in the European Convention. So the decree of 7th September 1993 cannot be made the basis of criminal liability.
- It appears then that this prosecution violates both Russian and the law of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Edward Fitzgerald Q.C.