| At present about half the complaints (44%) in the address
of the Commissioner on Human Rights of the RF refer to violations of civil
rights and liberties by interior ministry workers. This was the topic of
the meeting of Vladimir Lukin
with Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev. In an interview of Ombudsman
to Nezavisimaya Gazeta we offer our readers the details of the discussion.
Question: What was the reaction of the Minister to your information
about such a huge number of complaints about the actions of the militia?
Lukin: The minister knows no less - and even more than
me - that the state of the law and enforcement agencies deserves very
serious and critical analysis. And he has his own data on this. At the
same time the minister, in my view, was just saying that the law and enforcemet
agencies should not be judged on scandalous facts alone. He stressed that
last year, as never before, cases on organised crime - over 100 cases
- were investigated and transferred to a resultative trial. Of course,
there are serious violations, but serious work is being performed and
there are highly qualified selfless specialists in the interio. And there
are certain results: both negative and positive results. I agree and think
that fate and the Constitution arrange this in such a way that we shall
first of all focus our attention on drawbacks, but we shall cooperate
and propose our variants on how to overcome these drawbacks.
Question: You no doubt gave him examples of the worst cases
of violations by the militia?
Lukin: Our discussion was representative and more
general in nature. We agreed that five - six representatives of our agencies
will meet and we shall speak on definite issues then. In general I came
out after the meeting feeling positive. We found very interesting points
for cooperation. The new leadership of the interior ministry demonstrated
its plans to cooperate with us on a number of problems, including those
indicated by us.
Question: Do you think that all that needs to be done is
to increase the wages of the militia and they will begin working better?
Lukin: I agree that workers of the interior should
be paid a dignified wage. But this is only one of many factors. They should
also have self-respect and a legal culture. Then the citizens would
look at them differently and follow their example.
Question: As far as we know, you planned to gain access
to prisons to see how human rights are observed there. Did you manage
to fulfill that desire?
Lukin: I remember that some newspaper even wrote that
I had allegedly wanted to get into prison as a prisoner to feel how things
are there. This is a big exaggeration: I have not had and don't have plans
to get into prison incognito. But I certainly plan to avoid "Potyomkin
village" visits (Ed. Fine facades of villages built by Potyomkin
demonstrated to the Empress as real villages). I am not a supporter of
"Potyomkin villages" which our motherland is famous for, and
I don't want to do in such a way that I would demonstrate such a "village"
inside every institution, either penitentiary, Internet for the senior
citizens, etc. Therefore I am seeking a special scheme of my visits and
I think that I shall find it together with my colleagues. The visits should
not be immediate and unexpected, but at the same time they should not
be only for show. This issue is complicated in Russian conditions, but
we shall find the answer.
Question: When can we expect improvements in the observation
of human rights in Russia?
Lukin: These are long-term tasks. And I think that
our legal developments will get better if our legal conditions get better.
And legal notions should change gradually and smoothly. This is what I
shall be working for. I have not promised and don't promise any miracles.
But I shall steadily work to make our state become more lawful with regards
the feelings of our citizens and the relations between our citizens and
the law and enforcement agencies from both sides. For our law and enforcement
agencies should know and observe human rights, and the citizens should
know and observe the rights and obligations of the law ad enforcement
agencies. Often they are not observed too. I think that legal education of people - from eighth
form in school onwards - is absolutely necessary.