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Duma awaits judicial reform

May 23, 2001

A presidential package of bills on judicial and law reforms may be officially presented to the Duma today, reported Deputy Head of the Yabloko faction of the State Duma of the RF.

Sergei Ivanenko on his return from the Kremlin, where a meeting was held between President Putin and the leaders of the Duma factions.

The meeting was devoted to final consideration of the proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation.

According to Ivanenko, the President stated that he was about to sign the decree on the submission of the documents to the Duma in the near future. Ivanenko stressed that Yabloko supported the concept of judicial reforms and would facilitate a rapid review of the presidential bills by the Duma. The only disagreement between the President and Yabloko, which Ivanenko assesses as unimportant, concerns the actual time of the entry into force of rules concerning arrests of suspects, with the approval of judicial bodies. Deputies have proposed that this rule enter into force in 2003, while the President has targeted 2004.

According to Ivanenko, part of the bills on judicial reform may be passed before the end of the Duma spring session.

During the meeting, the President made some remarks indicating his disagreement with the position of the working group, noted Deputy Speaker of the Duma Irina Khakamada. In particular, Vladimir Putin voiced objections to attempts to empower the special commission to file cases against relatives of judges living in the same area, and also raised objections to the opinion of the judges of the Constitutional Court regarding the decision of the Supreme Court. According to Khakamada, most of the faction leaders agreed with these remarks.

In conversion with the President, Khakamada referred to the imperfections of the amendments passed recently to the law on the mass media, which state that foreign capital cannot own more than 50% of mass media. The President agreed that this provision should not apply to printed media, but added that he believed it to be correct for television channels, noted Khamakada.

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May 23, 2001

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