Nothing more to discover

Aleksandr Nikitin and his defence team completed the discovery phase yesterday. The defendant requested the case to be handled by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in the first instance, bypassing the City Court which failed to determine the case in October 1998. Whichever court will handle the case, proceedings should start in late autumn.

No petitions were filed from the defence side. Nikitin’s lawyer, Yuriy Schmidt, said there was no need to do that. "The FSB’s investigators failed to fulfil the requests by the City Court and the Supreme Court, and had no interest in determining the truth in this case," Schmidt said to Bellona Web. "We want this case in court as soon as possible and will not delay the process by filing extra petitions," Schmidt added.

The City Court of St. Petersburg in October last year, followed by the Supreme Court in February this year, said the indictment submitted by the FSB was vague and inconsistent with Russian federal legislation. Nevertheless, the new indictment is a copy of the one rejected by the two courts. Aleksandr Nikitin is still indicted in accordance with secret and retroactive normative acts – in violation of both Russian and international principles of legal protection.

The case files will now be sent to the Prosecutor Office of St. Petersburg and in a few days time will be forwarded to the City Court of St. Petersburg.

Aleksandr Nikitin and his lawyers have requested the case to be heard in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in first instance, bypassing the City Court. The appeal to the Supreme Court was sent today. Last year, the Supreme Court refused a similar request, on the pretext that the defendant would not be able to appeal against the court’s verdict. Since then, regulations have changed to the extent that a Supreme Court verdict can now be appealed to the court’s college.

Nikitin’s application registered in Strasbourg
On July 26, 1999, Aleksandr Nikitin forwarded his application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The application has been registered as case no. 50178/99. Currently, a judge in Strasbourg has been appointed to evaluate the application and make recommendations for further procedure.