Institutions of military justice of the armed forces of the Russian federation
Russia is experiencing radical changes.
It is impossible to create a democratic state without a strong legal foundation based on commonly recognized principles and standards of international law. Additionally, the legal foundation must have a coordinated and effective system of state institutions to administer the law. A system of military courts, the Office of Military Prosecutor, and the Legal Service of AFRF carry out the legal responsibilities of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (AFRF).
I. RUSSIAN FEDERATION MILITARY COURTS: ORGANIZATION, AUTHORITY, PROCEDURE
As with many other countries, power in the Russian Federation is divided between three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Dividing the power between the three branches strengthens the Constitution and, in turn, the credibility of the government itself. As to the judicial branch, Russian Federation judicial power is based on 10 of the Constitution and Federal Constitutional Law “On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation,” collectively the RF Judicial System. The Judicial System is independent and acts separately from executive and legislative powers. Power within the RF Judicial System is executed by civil, constitutional, administrative and criminal trials.
In executing this power, trials in the RF must be conducted according to provisions established by the Constitution and by law; “emergency” and other unconstitutional courts are prohibited. In these trials, participating parties meet as equal adversaries, with a competitive spirit, to execute justice. These principles carry over to our military courts, where issues or cases must be presented in front of a judge, jury, or people’s arbitration assessors. No other bodies are authorized to conduct trials.
II. MILITARY COURTS
Military Courts are included in the system of Federal Courts of General Jurisdiction along with federal and regional courts and courts of specialized jurisdiction. The courts are established where military units are located, and they are open to the public. The corresponding federal constitutional laws determine the particularities of their organization and activity during mobilization and wartime.
Military courts conduct trials independently, subordinate only to the Constitution, constitutional laws and statutes. The judges in military courts are independent in dispensing justice; the Constitution, federal constitutional law and statute guarantee the judges’ independence. It cannot be abrogated or diminished, and any interference with their activities is unacceptable and punishable by law.
Military courts administer justice in accordance with civil, administrative and criminal procedures. In hearing these cases, it is the responsibility and duty of military courts to ensure and protect: Individual rights and freedoms protected by law; Local government’s rights and interests protected by law; Russian Federation rights and interests protected by the law, as well as interests of the RF constituents, federal jurisdictions and the constituents’ public authorities. In protecting these rights, the following matters are justiciable at Military courts:
1. Civil and administrative cases involving the protection of violated rights or freedoms, and AFRF servicemen’s interests, protected by the law, from the action or forbearance of command or military authorities and their decisions. In these cases, Retired officers and civilians, who have undergone reserve military training, also have a right to appeal to a military court when their rights or freedoms have been violated. They can appeal the action or forbearance of the command or military authorities, and the decisions made while they were in service.
2. Criminal cases in which servicemen, as well as retired officers, committed crimes during their term of service. Federal procedural laws set jurisdiction over criminal and administrative cases, committed by servicemen and retired officers. Crimes committed before active servicemen or reservists on military training enlisted are not within the military court’s jurisdiction.
3. Administrative cases in which servicemen violated the law. The military courts try appeals against the investigators and prosecutors who secured servicemen or prorogued their custodial terms as well as against the activities (inactivity) of prosecutors. Military courts also try cases and review matters concerned with the circumscriptions of privacy of correspondence, telephoning and residential security.
The military courts located outside the RF have jurisdiction over all civil, administrative, and criminal cases which are to be pleaded by Federal Courts of general jurisdiction unless provided otherwise by an international treaty. Federal constitutional law determines trial procedure and cases within military courts’ jurisdiction, during mobilization and in wartime.
B. Military Courts Structure and Authorities
Military courts are structured as follows:
PRESIDIUM OF THE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION SUPREME COURT
CASSATION COLLEGIUM OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION SUPREME COURT
MILITARY COLLEGIUM OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION SUPREME COURT
DISTRICT (FLEET) MILITARY COURTS
GARRISON MILITARY COURTS
* Military courts can be established collaterally with the ARRF units and organizations located outside of Russian Federation territory.
Presidium of the Russian Federation Supreme Court considers cases concerning verdicts, determinations and rulings of the Military Collegium of the RF Supreme Court and of military courts. The Cassation Collegium of the RF Supreme Court considers cases concerning complaints and protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rules that were adopted by the Military Collegium in the first instance but are not yet in force.
C. The Military Collegium
The Military Collegium works as part of the RE Supreme Court. District (fleet) military courts are inferior to the Military Collegium. The Military Collegium hears cases under its jurisdiction in the following procedure:
1. First instance civil and administrative cases are investigated by an individual judge or by a board of three judges, and criminal cases are investigated by a board of three judges, by a judge with a board of jurors, or by a judge with assessors.
2. Cases concerning complaints and protests over decisions, a board of three judges reviews sentences, definitions and rulings that were adopted by the Military Collegium in the first instance but failed to come into force.
3. Cases concerning complaints and protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rulings that came into force are investigated by a board of three judges.
Besides hearing cases, the Military Collegium publishes an information bulletin for the military courts containing decisions of military courts on both civil and criminal cases, judicial case reviews, analytical data and military court statistics, and other materials.
The Military Collegium considers in the first instance (1) cases disputing non-normative acts of the RE President, the RE Government, the Ministry of Defense, and acts of other federal bodies of executive power where military service is provided by law concerning rights and freedoms, protected by legislation, of military members and reservists undergoing military training and (2) criminal cases where military judges are accused, if the judge brings necessary petition, and cases of extra complexity or social meaning, if petition of the accused is available.
The Military Collegium also hears complaints and protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rules of District (fleet) military courts adopted in the first instance but are not yet in force; protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rules of military courts that came into force; and new evidence concerning decisions and sentences of the Military Collegium, that came into force.
The members of the Military Collegium are a chairman, his deputy, chairmen of the benches, other judges of the RF Supreme Court, and Boards:
CHAIRMEN OF THE BENCHES
Boards for civil and criminal cases (cases are investigated by an individual judge or by a board of three judges)
The Chairman of the Military Collegium is the Vice-Chairman of RE Supreme Court. He is appointed by the Council of Federation of Federal Assembly of the RF, after nomination by the President of RF. The presidential nomination is based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the RE Supreme Court and the Judges of the Supreme Court high qualifying board. Duties of the Chairman of the Military Collegium, Deputy Chairman of the Military Collegium, and Chairman of the Board follow:
a. Chairman of the Military Collegium
1. Brings protests of the Military Collegium to the RE Supreme Court concerning decisions, sentences, definitions and rules that came into force;
2. Brings protests of military courts to the Military Collegium and District (fleet) military courts concerning decisions, sentences, definitions and rules that came into force;
3. Considers cases before the Military Collegium and presides over court sessions;
4. Organizes Military Collegium activities;
5. Decides whether cases should pass to another bench;
6. Appoints, dismisses and controls the work of the Military Collegium staff, which is a part of the staff of the RE Supreme Court;
7. Executes other powers provided by Federal Law and any responsibilities delegated by the Chairman of the RE Supreme Court.
b. Deputy of the Chairman of the Military Collegium
1. Considers cases before the Military Collegium and can preside over court sessions;
2. Executes duties of the Chairman of the Military Collegium in his absence, except bringing protests;
3. Executes other powers and the duties he is assigned by the Chairman of the RF Supreme Court and the Chairman of the Military Collegium;
c. Chairman of the Board
1. Organizes Board activities;
2. Considers cases before the Board and presides over Board court sessions;
3. Controls the work of the Board staff.
4. Executes duties assigned by the Chairman of the Military Collegium.
D. District (Fleet) Military Court
District (fleet) military court acts over the territory of one or several constituent entities of the RF where military units, formations or other forces of the AFRF are located. It consists of the chairman, his deputies, and other judges and may have a post of the first deputy of the chairman. District (fleet) military courts, create presidiums, but they may also create court collegiums and/or boards.
DEPUTY-CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS
(on criminal and civil cases)
District (fleet) military courts consider in the first instance civil cases connected with state secrets and cases on crimes that may be punished by over 15 years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment. District (fleet) courts also hear complaints and protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rules adopted by garrison military courts in the first instance, but that are not yet in force; protests over decisions, sentences, definitions and rules of garrison military courts that came into force, and definitions and rulings adopted by District (fleet) military court in the second instance; and new Evidence concerning decisions, sentences, definitions and rules of District (fleet) military court that came into force. District (fleet) military courts also hear cases on complaints and protests against decisions, sentences, orders and resolutions garrison military courts passed concerning: cases in the first instance and are not yet in force; arrest; detention; the limitation of the right to privacy of correspondence, telephone and other communications; inviolability of the home; and activity (inactivity) of an inquirer, investigator, prosecutor and their decisions.
District (fleet) military courts investigate in the first instance cases within their jurisdiction. Civil and administrative cases are investigated personally by a judge or by a board of three judges. Criminal cases are tried by a board of three judges, or by a judge with a board of jurors, or by a board consisting of a judge and assessors.
2. Presidium of the District (Fleet) Military Courts
The presidium of the District (fleet) military courts consists of the chairman, his vice-chairmen, and vice-chairmen–chairmen of collegium and boards. Session is held at least once a month on the of the initiative of the court president. It is a legally qualified session if more than half of its members present. The resolutions of the presidium of the District (fleet) military courts are adopted by the majority of the members votes who participate the session. The Presidium of the District (fleet) Military Courts:
1. Tries civil, administrative and criminal cases concerning protests against the decisions, sentences, determinations and resolutions of the garrison military courts which entered into force, as well as the determinations and resolutions of the District (fleet) military courts of second instance;
2. Considers the work organization and co-ordinates the activities of collegium and boards;
3. Commissions chairmen of collegium and boards on the basis of the chairman’s presentation;
4. Determines the number of collegium and boards on the basis of the chairman’s presentation;
5. Considers the judicial staff activity organization, approves the structure and the judicial staff’s list of members of staff on the basis of the chairman’s presentation, the number of its employees and judicial staff regulations.
3. Collegium and Boards of the District (fleet) Military Courts
Collegium and Boards of the District (fleet) Military Courts try:
1. Cases which were attributed to the judicial jurisdiction of the District (fleet) military courts by the Federal constitutional law, in the first instance;
2. Cases concerning appeals and protests against the decisions, sentences, determinations and resolutions of the garrison military courts, which were taken by a court of first instance but are not yet in entered into force;
3. Cases of new evidence concerning decisions, sentences, determinations and resolutions of the corresponding collegium and boards that came into force.
4. Chairman of the District (fleet) Military Courts
The RF President appoints the Chairman of the District (fleet) military courts. The Chief Justice of the RE Supreme Court nominates a person for the position, on the recommendation of the High Qualifying Board of the judges of the RE. The Chairman of the District (fleet) military courts:
1. Brings protests against the decisions, sentences, determinations and resolutions of the garrison military courts and District (fleet) military courts which entered into force;
2. Participates in the investigation of cases before the District (fleet) military courts and presides over the judicial sessions;
3. Organizes court activities;
4. Calls the presidium into session and introduces cases for consideration and presides over the presidium session;
5. Distributes the duties among the deputy chief judges;
6. If necessary, settles questions concerning transferring cases from one collegium or board to another; and whether judges of one collegium or board can participate on a ease for consideration in another collegium or board;
7. Controls the activities of the administrator and judicial staff, appoints and dismisses the court staffers who are not in the active military service;
8. Represents the court in the government bodies, non-governmental organizations and local self-government;
9. Exercises other authority provided by Federal law.
5. Deputy Chairman of the District (fleet) Military Courts
The Deputy Chairman of the District (fleet) military courts is appointed by the RF President. The Chairman of the RF Supreme Court nominates a person for the position, on the recommendation of the High Qualifying Board of the judges of the RF. He exercises the authority of the Chairman in his absence, with the exception of bringing protests. Deputy Chairman of the District (fleet) military courts, deputy chairman of a collegium or a board of District (fleet) military courts:
1. Participates in cases assigned to a particular collegium or board and presides over the judicial sitting;
2. Organizes the activities of a collegium or board;
3. Controls the activities of the staff of a collegium or board;
4. Exercises other authority provided by the Federal law and duties assigned to him by the Chairman.
6. Chairman of the Board of the District (fleet) Military Courts
1. May participate in investigation of hearings of cases by the Board and preside over hearings;
2. Organizes the activities of the Board;
3. Controls the activities of the Board staff;
4. Exercises other authority provided by Federal law and exercises duties assigned to him by the Chairman of the Court and (or) by a chairman of a respective Board.
E. GARRISON MILITARY COURTS
Garrison military courts act within the territory where one or several military garrisons are located and are comprised of the Chairman, his deputy and other judges. Garrison military courts try in the first instance civil, administrative and criminal cases, which were not attributed to the jurisdiction of the District (fleet) military courts. They also try cases of newly discovered evidence regarding their own decisions, sentences, definitions and resolutions that came into force.
Garrison military courts take decisions concerning arrests; custodial placement; holding in custody; limitation of rights for privacy of correspondence, telephone and other conversations, postal, telegraphic and other communications; for inviolability of the home; for activity (inactivity) of an inquirer, investigator, prosecutor and their decisions in cases and in the order provided by federal criminal procedural law. The structure of garrison military courts while exercising justice follows:
Civil and administrative cases and criminal cases are tried by an individual judge or by a judge and assessors. The judge of garrison military courts personally makes the decisions concerning arrests, custodial placement, holding in custody, limitation of rights for privacy of correspondence, telephone and other conversations, postal, telegraphic and other communications, for inviolability of the home, for activity (inactivity) of an inquirer, investigator, prosecutor and their decisions in cases and in the order provided the federal criminal procedural law.
The RF President appoints the Chairman of a garrison military court after his being nominated by the Chairman of the RE Supreme Court. The Chairman of garrison military court:
1. Participates in and presides over cases tried in garrison military court;
2. Organizes court activities;
3. Allocates duties between judges;
4. Supervises the court administrator and staff, appoints and releases employees who are not in military service, and approves regulations about court’s staff;
5. Represents the court in government bodies, non-governmental organizations and local government.
The Deputy Chairman of garrison military court is appointed by the RE President on the nomination of the Chairman of the RE Supreme Court, on the recommendation of the High Qualifying Board of the judges of the RE. He discharges his duties, substitutes for the Chairman in his absence and discharges other duties assigned to him by the Chairman.
III. FINANCING AND PROVIDING ACTIVITY OF MILITARY COURTS AND BOARDS
The Judicial Department is the federal body in charge of organizational support for the military justice system. Organizational support includes staff, financial, material and technical and other activities that are necessary to create a full and independent military judiciary. It is established by the Federal Law “On the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the RF.” The Judicial Department is to assist in the administration of the court system, but is not to usurp a judge’s independence nor interfere in the execution of justice.
Financing of the Military Collegium and military courts is provided by the Federal Budget. Providing military courts, Military Collegium, and corresponding units of Judicial department with transport, communication means, firearms, offices, their servicing, exploitation, protection and also keeping archives is done by applicable bodies of the Russian Armed Forces, other troops, military units and bodies. Those services are paid for by the Judicial Department and Supreme Court of the RF.
The Military Collegium’s activities are supported by the staff of the RF Supreme Court and of military courts and by the Judicial Department (Federal constitutional laws determine financing for military courts in wartime, and in the state of emergency). The Chairman of the Supreme Court and chairman of the Military Collegium control the activity of the staff, respectively, of military courts and of the Military Collegium.
Employees of staff of the military courts and Military Collegium are Federal State employees, and servicemen can be attached to the staff of the military courts and Military Collegium. The staff supports the administration of justice by military courts and Military Collegium, reviews judicial practice, provides for the analysis of judicial statistics and systematization of current legislation and execution of other court’s functions.
The Administrator of military courts also plays a vital role. He acts within his commission under the control of the chairman of the court and under the supervision of an appropriate division of the Judicial Department. He is appointed and dismissed by the head of an appropriate division of the Judicial Department, on the recommendation of the chairman of a respective military court. The administrator of military courts:
1. Takes measures concerning the organizational provision of court activity;
2. Interacts with state bodies, non-governmental organizations, local self-government, their officials and other employees concerning providing the court activities;
3. Takes measures on providing adequate material and living conditions for judges and employees of military courts and its staff and also their medical care and sanatorium treatment;
4. Provides judges and employees of military courts and their staff with legal literature, handbooks, and reference books;
5. Organizes judicial statistics, including record management and archives;
6. Organizes security for buildings, work places and other military courts property, and also organizes administrative activity including communications and transportation;
7. Organizes building, repairing and technical maintenance;
8. Establishes a budget for military courts approved by the Chairman;
9. Exercises other measures on providing activities of military courts;
10. Carries out orders and instructions of the Chairman related to providing activities of military courts.
Positions of judges of military courts and of the Military Collegium, as well as staff posts in the military courts, the Military Collegium and the Judicial Department are filled by servicemen who are attached to, respectively, the Supreme Court of the RF and the Judicial Department. The attachment of servicemen is executed by the nomination of the Chairman of the Supreme Court. The judges and employees of military courts, Military Collegium, and Judicial Department serve in accordance with the Federal law “On the Military Duty and the Military Service.”
Judges of military courts and of the military Collegium are promoted to general/flag officer ranks as provided for under the Federal law “On Military the Duty and the Military Service” on the nomination of the Chairman of the Supreme Court. Promotion to other ranks is performed on the nomination of the Chairman of a District (fleet) military court.
Military ranks of employees of military courts staff, Military Collegium and Judicial Department are provided by the Federal law “On the Military Duty and the Military Service” on nomination of the chairman of the Military Collegium for employees of Military Collegium staff; the chairman of the District (fleet) military court for employees of District (fleet) military courts and garrison military courts staff; and the general director of the Judicial Department for employees of Judicial Department. The heads of the corresponding units of the Judicial Department conduct appointments, discharges and moving to other posts of employees of military courts.
Judges of military courts are provided with premises meeting health and other standards for conducting justice. Buildings and movable properties, used by military court are federal property and are to be used exclusively for military justice activities. The federal property cannot be withdrawn. Additionally, Military courts are exempted from rent, other tenantry payments, municipal and other payments, for land utilized by military courts.
Judge Posts in Military Courts and Military Collegium of The Supreme
Court and Corresponding Ranks to these Posts (1)
Post Military rank
The chairman of the Military Collegium. Colonel-General of
Deputy chainnan of the Military Collegium, Lieutenant-General
the chairman of a judicial staff of the Military of Justice
Collegium, the chairman of Moscow circuit
The judge of the Military Collegium, the Major-General of
chairman of District (fleet) military courts and Justice
the chairman of Moscow garrison military
Deputy chairman and the judge of District Colonel of Justice
(fleet) military courts; the chairman of
garrison military courts.
Deputy chairman and the judge of garrison Lieutenant-Colonel
military courts. of Justice
Military units or garrison commandants’ offices are responsible for the transportation and safekeeping of prisoners who are in disciplinary units and guardhouses. A body of the federal executive power is responsible for the transportation and safekeeping of prisoners in prisons, convict colonies and other places. They are also responsible for transportation to and from the place of trial.
IV. OFFICE OF THE RF PROSECUTOR
The Office of RE Prosecutor plays a special role in ensuring the compliance with law in the AFRF. (2) It is made of a unified, centralized network of federal agencies overseeing compliance with the Constitution of the RE and execution of laws currently in effect on its territory. The Prosecutor also has other functions as defined by federal law. In order to ensure the supremacy of law, integrity and enforcement of legality, safeguarding of human rights and liberties, as well as public and national interests upheld by law, the Prosecutor is in charge of the following activities:
1. Supervision of the execution of laws by federal ministries, state committees, services and other federal executive agencies, representative (legislative) and executive agencies in the RF constituent entities, local authorities, defense command and control agencies, supervising agencies, officials thereof, control boards and chief executive officers of commercial and non-profit organizations, as well as the conformity to law of legal acts issued by them;
2. Oversight of observance of human rights and liberties by: federal agencies, state committees, services and other federal executive agencies, representative (legislative) and executive agencies in the RF constituent entities, local authorities, defense command and control agencies, supervising agencies, officials thereof, control boards and chief executive officers of commercial and non-profit organizations;
3. Supervision of compliance with laws by investigative, inquiry and prosecuting agencies;
4. Supervision of compliance with laws by bailiffs;
5. Oversight of execution of laws by: administration of agencies and establishments enforcing punishments and court-ruled punitive enforcement measures; administration of detention and pre-trial facilities;
6. Criminal prosecution in compliance with authority in the RF Criminal Procedural Code;
7. Co-ordinate crime fighting by law enforcement agencies.
The offices of the Prosecutor operate on the basis of subordination of prosecutors to superior prosecutors and ultimately to the RF Prosecutor General (PG). In addition to the listed activities, the offices of the prosecutor also have the following responsibilities:
1. Execute their authority independently from federal authorities, public authorities of the constituent entities of the RF, provincial governments, public associations, and in full compliance with the laws of RF;
2. Act publicly unless it runs counter to requirements of the legislation of the RF on the protection of civil rights and freedoms, as well as the legislation of the RE relating to state or any other specifically protected secret;
3. Keep federal authorities, public authorities of the constituent entities of the RF, local authorities, as well as the public, informed of the state of legality;
4. Prosecutors or prosecuting agencies’ investigative officers may not be members of elective, or any other, bodies set up by federal authorities or local authorities;
5. Prosecution officers may not be members of public associations pursuing political goals, or take part in such activities. Public associations pursuing political aims and their branches in prosecutors’ offices and establishments shall not be allowed. Prosecutors and investigators are not bound in their service by decisions taken by public associations;
6. Prosecution officers may not engage alternately in any other paid or gratuitous activities concurrently with their duties, except for teaching, research, or arts.
The Constitution emphasizes that prosecutors’ supervision shall not be interfered with. Exerting any influence upon a prosecutor or investigator by federal authorities, RF constituent entities, local authorities, public associations, mass media, and representatives thereof, as well as officials, with the intent of impacting decision-making–or hampering their activities in any form, warrants legally-mandated reprisals. Additionally, a prosecutor or investigator is not to make announcements on merits of cases or materials under examination, or to submit them to any person whatsoever for review, other than in cases or in a manner prescribed by federal legislation.
Additionally, no one may publicly disclose findings involved in checkups and preliminary investigations carried out by prosecutors’ agencies, pending their completion without prior permission from a prosecutor. Orders issued by the prosecutor, ensuing from his authority, are subject to strict execution within the set timeframe.
Prosecutors and investigators also have powers for collecting information. Statistics, or any other data, certificates, documents or copies thereof, indispensable for discharging functions incumbent upon prosecutors’ offices, shall be submitted at a prosecutor’s or investigator’s demand free of charge. Defaults on orders and evasion of attendance when subpoenaed are also forbidden.
The system of the Office of Prosecutor is constituted by the Office of the Prosecutor General, constituent entities’, military and other specialized prosecutors’ offices equivalent to them, research and educational institutions, publications editorial boards (that hold a status of legal entities), as well as city and regional prosecutors’ offices, and other specialized prosecutors’ offices–territorial, military, etc. The Prosecutor General’s Office, prosecutors’ offices of the constituent entities of the RF, equivalent prosecutors’ offices, and research and educational institutions, operate public amenities and administrative facilities.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is appointed and dismissed by the Federal Assembly of the RE at the proposal of President of the RE, and his tenure is confined to a five-year term. The Prosecutor General annually submits a progress report on the state of legality and public order and the work made to improve it to the Chambers of the RE Federal Assembly and the RE President.
The prosecutors of constituent entities of the RE are appointed by the Prosecutor General with acquiescence of the constituent entities’ authorities. The regional and city prosecutors, as well as specialized prosecutors are also appointed and dismissed by the Prosecutor General. Additionally, they are subordinate and accountable to superior prosecutors and the Prosecutor General of the RE. The Prosecutor General’s Office forms a council board including the Prosecutor General (Chair), his First Deputy and assistants (ex officio), and other prosecutors appointed by Prosecutor General.
The structure of the Prosecutor General’s Office includes main directorates, directorates and departments (equal in rights to directorates, as part of directorates). Chiefs of main directorates, senior assistants, and their deputies and chiefs of departments (forming part of directorates) are assistants to the Prosecutor General. The main directorates, directorates and departments have assigned positions of prosecutors and senior prosecutors, prosecutor-criminologists and senior prosecutor-criminologists, as well as detectives and senior detectives for especially important cases, and their assistants.
In the prosecutors’ offices of the constituent entities of the RE, and in the equal military and other special prosecutors’ offices, the council boards are formed. They consist of a prosecutor of a constituent entity of the RE (chairman), his first deputy and deputies (ex officio) and other prosecutor’s officials, appointed by the prosecutor of the constituent entity. They establish directorates and departments (equal in rights to directorates, as part of directorates). Chiefs of main directorates, directorates and departments equal to directorates, are senior assistants Their deputies and chiefs of departments forming part of directorates are assistants to the prosecutors of the legal entities of the RE.
In the prosecutors’ offices the following positions are established: assistants and senior assistants of the prosecutor, prosecutors and senior prosecutors of the departments and sections, prosecutor-criminologists and senior prosecutor-criminologists, as well as investigators for especially important cases and senior investigators and their assistants. The prosecutors of the constituent entities of the RE and equivalent prosecutors can have aids for specific appointments that enjoy the status of the deputy department chiefs.
Service in the structures and establishments of the prosecutors’ offices is regarded as federal state service. The qualifications for prosecutors and investigators include RE citizenship, juridical education (received in state-certified institution of higher education), proper professional and moral qualities, and being physically fit for the job. Prosecutor office employees who have class grades or occupy graded positions must pass qualifying tests to determine fitness for their positions. The procedure and terms of qualification tests are determined by the RF Prosecutor General. Employees working in prosecutor offices also sign a service contract for an indefinite period or a period not exceeding five years. Finally, newly appointed persons to a position of prosecutor or investigator shall take the Prosecutor (Investigator) Oath. The procedure for taking the oath is determined by the Prosecutor General.
B. Compensation, Recognition and Discipline
The salary of prosecutor’s office employees includes non-taxable basic pay; class grade incentive pay, long-service incentive pay, special service conditions incentive pay (50% of the basic pay), incentive pay for complexity of duty and intensity of work, outstanding achievements pay (up to 50% of the basic pay), incentive pay for a scientific degree or title in the professional area associated with the official duties, honored title of “Merited Lawyer of the RF;” quarterly or year bonus (premium), and an allowance for subsistence (if rations are not received in kind).
Prosecutors and investigators, research, and pedagogic employees have a paid annual leave of thirty calendar days without regard for the time of travel to the vacation place and back and with paid travel expenses within the limits of the RF. Those Prosecutors and investigators working in areas with heavy or adverse climatic conditions have annual paid leave according to the rules, established by the Government of the RE, with a duration of no less than 45 calendar days. An additional annual paid leave for long service as a prosecutor or investigator, scientific or pedagogic employee is be scaled up as follows:
after 10 years of service — additional 5 calendar days;
after 15 years of service — additional 10 calendar days;
after 20 years of service — additional 15 calendar days;
Additionally, for excellent performance, for long and irreproachable service in the prosecutor’s office bodies and institutions, and for accomplishing tasks of special importance and complexity an employee may be awarded a notice of commendation, a certificate of merit, or his photograph may be placed a photo on the Board of Merit or his name entered in the Book of Merit. They may also be granted a bonus, a present, a valuable present, or an inscribed weapon. Further, they may be advanced in assignment or class, awarded a pin “For irreproachable service in prosecutor’s office of the RE,” or awarded a pin “Honored employee of the prosecutor’s office of the RE” together with a diploma of the Prosecutor General of the RE. Especially distinguished employees may be nominated for the honorable title “Merited lawyer of the RF” and awarded state medals. The Prosecutor General is also entitled to establish other types of encouragement.
For failure to perform or for improper performance and for misdemeanors or defaming officials, the heads of prosecutors’ office branches and establishments can impose disciplinary penalties including admonitions, reprimands, severe reprimands, demotions in class, deprivation of the breastplate “For irreproachable service in prosecutor’s office of the RF” or for “Honored employee of the prosecutor’s office of the RF,” a warning of incomplete fitness for the job, and dismissal from the bodies prosecutor’s offices. Service in the bodies and establishments of the prosecutor’s office terminates with the dismissal of the employee.
To ensure physical protection of its employees, the Prosecutor’s Office has its own security service. Prosecutors and investigators, being official representatives of state power, enjoy special protection of the state. Their relatives, and in some exclusive cases other persons whose lives, health and property are encroached upon in order to obstruct the performance of legitimate duties of prosecutors and investigators, also enjoy such protection. The order and terms of providing the state protection to prosecutors and investigators are determined by the Federal Law “On State Protection of Judges and Officials of the Law-Enforcement and Supervising Bodies,” and also by other norms and enactments of the RF.
Along with the grounds stipulated by RF labor legislation, prosecutor’s office employees can retire in connection with retirement age, the maximum age being sixty years (except for the scientific and educational employees). The head of the prosecutor’s office body and establishment may extend this age–with one time extensions not exceeding one year. Employees may also retire or at the initiative of the head of the organ or establishment of the prosecutor’s office in the following cases:
1. Reaching the age limit for the service in the prosecutor’s office;
2. Termination of the citizenship of the RF;
3. Violation of the prosecutor’s (investigator’s) oath as well as conducting misdemeanors, defaming the honor of an employee of prosecutor’s office;
4. Non-compliance with the limitations, connected with the service as well as the occurrence of situations stipulated by the Article 11 and Paragraph 3 of Article 21 respectively of the Federal Law “On the fundamentals of state service in the RF;”
5. Disclosure of information constituting a state secret or any other secret protected by law.
The pension allowance of prosecutors and investigators, research and education employees or their family members is paid in conformity with the regulations, provisions and the order, established by legislation with regard to retired officers who served in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and their family members. Prosecutors and investigators, research and education employees entitled to pension allowance stipulated by this Clause, and having no less than twenty cumulative years of service and not receiving any pension, are paid a monthly bonus to their basic pay amounting to 50% of the pension they could have otherwise received. They are paid according to the following scale:
Less than 10 calendar years — 5 monthly basic salaries with the additional payment for their class rank;
From 10 to 15 calendar years — 10 monthly basic salaries with the additional payment for their class rank;
From 15 to 20 calendar years — 15 monthly basic salaries with the additional payment for their class rank;
20 calendar years and above — 20 monthly basic salaries with the additional payment for their class rank.
D. Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office
The Military Prosecutor’s Office consists of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office, military prosecutors’ offices in military districts, fleets, Strategic Missile Forces, Federal Border Troops, the Moscow military prosecutor’s office, other military prosecutor’s offices equaled to the prosecutor’s offices of the agencies of the RE, and military prosecutor’s offices of units and large formations, garrisons and other military prosecutor’s offices, equaled to the prosecutor’s offices of cities and districts.
In the military prosecutors’ offices equaled to the prosecutors’ offices of cities and districts, prosecutor-investigation and investigation sub-offices can be set up by the decision of the Chief Military Prosecutor.
In areas, where the other bodies of the prosecutor’s office of the RF do not work due to exceptional circumstances, as well as in territories outside the RE, where the RF troops are stationed in accordance with international agreements, the functions of the prosecutor’s office can be entrusted by the Prosecutor General of the RE to the bodies of military prosecutor’s office. These bodies are headed by the deputy to the Prosecutor General of the RE–the Chief military prosecutor, who co-ordinates the activities of the bodies of the military prosecutor’s office, provides for selection, placing and education of personnel, attests military prosecutors and investigators, and issues orders and directives binding for all military prosecutors. Military pro secutors’ offices carry out their duties in the Armed Forces of the RE, other troops, military units and bodies, which are created in accordance with the federal laws and other documents.
The office of the Chief Military Prosecutor consists of directorates, departments (both independent and integral to directorates), offices, and reception chambers. The heads of directorates and independent departments are senior assistants. Their deputies are heads of the departments in the directorates offices and reception chambers and are assistants to the Chief Military Prosecutor. The Chief Military Prosecutor adopts the guidelines on the structure of his office.
Positions of the prosecutors and senior prosecutors, prosecutor-criminologists and senior prosecutor-criminologists, special investigators and senior special investigators are established in the directorates and departments. The Board is created in Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office. This Board includes Chief Military Prosecutor (chairman), his first deputy and deputies and other prosecutor’s employees, who are assigned by the Chief Military Prosecutor. The Board’s membership is affirmed by the Prosecutor General of the RF upon presentation by the Chief Military Prosecutor.
The General Prosecutor of the RF supervises the execution of laws in the Armed Forces of RF through the Chief Military Prosecutor. Subordinate to the Chief Military Prosecutor are prosecutors vested with powers within the limits of their competence, determined by Federal Legislation. They exercise this power independently of the military command in accordance with the legislation. Military prosecutors are vested with the following authority:
1. To participate in sessions of boards, military councils, meetings of military command;
2. To launch non-departmental inspections and checks, the expenditures for which are reimbursed according the prosecutor’s decision by the bodies of military command, superior to the checked military units;
3. On showing of the ID service card, free access to the territory and premises of military units, enterprises, institutions, organizations and headquarters irrespective of the regimen, established in them, as well as access to their documents and materials;
4. To check legality of the confinement of convicted, arrested and detained servicemen in guard-houses, in disciplinary units and other places of their confinement, and to immediately release illegally incarcerated persons;
5. To demand provision of security, custody and escort of the persons confined in army and garrison guard-houses, in other places of the confinement, detained and incarcerated, respectively by military units, military commandants, escorts detailed by the Internal Troops of RF, bodies and institutions of internal affairs of the RF.
Military Prosecutors can respond to infringement of law as follows:
1. Instituting criminal proceedings and taking disciplinary, administrative or liability actions against guilty persons;
2. Protesting on acts, contradicting the law, to a command body or military official, which have issued this act;
3. Filing the prosecutor’s statement on elimination of infringement of law.
To serve as a military prosecutor or inspector, one must be a citizen of the RF, be physically fit for military service, be on active duty, have an officer rank, as well as have higher legal education from a state certified institution of higher learning. One must also possess appropriate expertise and moral qualities. Additionally, by the order of the RE Prosecutor General, or upon his approval, civilian persons may be assigned to military prosecutor or investigator posts. The servicemen of the military prosecutor’s offices are entitled to legal and social guarantees, pensions, medical care and other social benefits granted to servicemen by the laws of RE.
Officers of the Military Prosecutor’s office enjoy the status of servicemen, who serve in the AFRF, Federal Border Troops of the RE, other branches, and military units and other bodies according to the Federal law “On Military Duty and Military Service” and enjoy the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Federal laws “On the Status of Servicemen” and “On the Prosecutor’s Office of the RF. (3) Their appointment to serve in the Military Prosecutor’s offices and their discharge in reserve (retirement) is executed on the initiative of Prosecutor General of the RF or Chief Military Prosecutor (however, the discharge (retirement) of general officers is executed by President of the RE at the suggestion of the Prosecutor General of the RE). Officer grades in the bodies of Military Prosecutor’s office correspond to the class ranks of the prosecutor employees of the territorial prosecutor’s offices. Further, as part of the AFRF, their positions and grades are included in the list of military positions.
Proficiency tests of military prosecutors and investigators are performed in accordance with procedures established by the Prosecutor General. Giving due regard to the specificity of their military service, and considering their expertise and qualification, they can be endowed with qualification grades. Promotion of military prosecutors and investigators is exercised on the motion of the corresponding military prosecutor in accordance with the procedure established for servicemen. The conferment of general grades is exercised by President of the RF in accordance with the motion of the Prosecutor General of the RF.
Military prosecutors’ and investigators’ salary includes basic pay; military grade pay, long-service incentive pay, special service conditions incentive pay (50% of the basic pay), complexity of duty incentive pay (up to 50% of the basic pay), academic degree allowance, an allowance linked with the title of “Merited lawyer of the RF,” as well as other bonuses and types of allowance provided to servicemen. The salary is paid by the Ministry of Defense of the RF, or the Federal Border Troops Command, or by commands of other troops, military formations and agencies. The head of the military prosecutor’s office, considering the volume and the results of work of each military prosecutor or investigator, may establish incentives to recognize complexity, intensity and any special regimen of duties.
Military prosecutors and investigators can be rewarded or punished in accordance with the Federal Law “On the Prosecutor’s Office of the RF” and the Disciplinary Regulations of Armed Forces of the RF. Both the right to encourage and the right to impose discipline belong exclusively to senior military prosecutors and the RF Prosecutor General.
Upon retirement from the active service and joining the service in the territorial or specialized prosecutor’s offices, officers of the military prosecutor’s office (colonels included) are instated in class ranks equal to their military grades. Once enrolled to the active military service, public prosecutors and investigators (senior legal counselor included) receive army grades correspondent to their class. Additionally, military prosecutors and investigators entitled to a pension for long service, receive a monthly allowance to the basic pay amounting to 50% of the pension they could have otherwise received.
The legal status and endowment of civilian employees of the military prosecutor’s offices are determined in accordance with the procedures envisaged for the employees of territorial prosecutor’s offices.
V. LEGAL SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE RF
The legal service of the AFRF is designed to provide legal support to elements of military command, large formations, military units, and organizations of the AFRF. They contribute to these units with legal means, allowing them to operate at their best performance. The sub-units (separate positions) of the legal service function in the command structures, large formations, military units and organizations of the AFRF. The system of the legal service is made according to the following structure:
– The Administrative Directorate of the RF Defense Ministry;
– Legal branches with the Services of the AFRF, chiefs of the main and central directorates (departments) of the AFRF, military districts, fleets, arms of the AFRF;
– Senior legal counselors of armies (flotillas), legal assistants of corps and squadrons, divisional commanders and commanders of units which are equal to them, military school commandants, legal assistants of the AFRF–senior instructors, legal assistants at military commissariats;
– The legal assistants of brigade, regimental, 1st rank ship commanders, legal advisers, of establishments, enterprises and organizations of AFRF.
At present, specific decisions of the Chief of the General Staff of the AFRF, as the first deputy defense minister of the RF, have introduced into some institutions of military command positions of the commanding officer’s assistants on legal issues-chiefs of legal service.
A. Administrative Directorate
According to Order of the RF Defense Minister of 1998, No. 100, overall supervision of the legal service in the AFRF is vested in the Administrative Directorate. Thus, the First Deputy Head of the Administrative Directorate of the Defense Ministry in the RF is the Chief of the Legal Service of AFRF. He is to supervise the performance of the legal service on special issues and is the main legal expert in the AFRF.
The Administrative Directorate organizes a methodical guidance of legal work in the AFRF and also analyzes its condition through regular checks and final annual reports of the legal service divisions. It also prepares proposals on its improvement.
The Administrative Directorate provides methodical guidance on professional training and retraining of the legal service officers with the purpose of increasing the efficiency and the work quality of subdivisions and legal service officials. Personnel preparation is accomplished during the training period as well as through independent study following the recommendations developed by the Administrative Directorate.
The Administrative Directorate also participates in legal service staff selection and assignment. The assignment to the legal service and the reassignment of the personnel is made by established procedure, following the recommendation of the senior of the legal service. The appointment of legal counselors to divisional commanders and above is coordinated with the Chief of the Legal Service of AFRF.
Structural subdivisions of the Administrative Directorate occupy a special place in the system of the legal service. They are: legal examination and enactments; legal support of the international military cooperation and draft legislation work; and supervision department of the legal service subunits in the AFRF.
In order to update the entire body of norms and directives, the Administrative Directorate prepares draft orders and directives for the RF Defense Minister on repealing earlier orders and directives, which lost their practical importance. The legality is further strengthened by the submission by the Administrative Directorate of orders and directives of the RF Defense Minister for state registration at the RF Ministry of Justice.
The Legal Service of the Armed Forces participates in educating the personnel of central military command of the Armed Forces on current RF legislation and norms of the international humanitarian law. On the basis of order #333 (1999) of the Defense Minister, the Administrative Directorate, commanding and moral and development personnel of military districts (fleets), together with subdivisions of the legal service and in cooperation with bodies of military prosecutor’s office and military courts, see to the elaboration on guidance recommendations on legal training of servicemen of the Armed Forces.
Besides training, the judicial service of the Armed Forces participates in preparing and carrying out activities directed to ensure the effective use of legal means in strengthening military and work discipline.
Legal services of the arms of Armed Forces of the RF, chiefs of the main and central bodies of the Armed Forces of the RF, military districts, fleet, and arms of the Armed Forces are intended for execution of legal work in the specified military control elements.
Legal services execute the following tasks:
– Carry out legal examination and control the conformity with legislation, of orders and instructions of the RE Defense Minister and previously published orders of the commander-in-chief (commander), and draft orders and instructions submitted for his signature;
– Check the conformity of drafted (or received by military control bodies) bills, drafts of the international treaties and other documents on military issues with current legislation;
– Participate in preparation and execution of measures directed at increasing efficacy of legal means to strengthen military and work discipline;
– Carry out the methodical guidance of the legal service subdivisions on special issues and arrange advanced training and experience exchange among the legal service officers and civilian personnel;
– Participate in training and retraining of the legal service officials, select candidates for training at the military law faculty of the Military University to get qualification in “legal counseling,” provide them the reference;
– Coordinate (with personnel offices) the manning of legal service subdivisions with qualified specialists;
– Periodically check the state of legal work in military control bodies; organize inspections of military units; analyze the status of work of the legal service based on results of inspections and final reports of subdivisions; and develop suggestions and make arrangements on improvement of this work;
– Prepare the annual status report of legal work in the appropriate military control institution and submit it to the higher legal service command upon the consideration of a respective commander;
– Organize reference work on the laws, bylaws of public authority, orders and instructions of RE Defense Minister and his deputies, systematize the orders and instructions of the commander-in-chief (commander), keep their master copies, publish the index of the enactments and instructions;
– By the order of the commander-in-chief (commander), protect rights and legitimate interests of military control institutions, servicemen and civilian personnel; keep account of the complaints against actions and decisions of the military control elements officials, considered by courts, analyze them periodically and prepare the offers on lacks elimination and reasons of rights and freedom infringement of the servicemen and civil personnel; and carry out legal support of contractual and claim work executed by the military control elements;
– Check legality and validity of the documentation submitted to the relevant commanding officer’s authorization to write off useless or lost material or financial assets;
– Counsel and inform on legal issues related to activities of military control bodies; assist in responding to letters, complaints and requests;
– Participate in organization and training on current legislation and norms of international humanitarian law by servicemen.
Senior legal advisers of armies (flotillas), legal assistants of corps, squadron and division commanders and commanders of equal units, legal counselors to commandants of military schools and senior instructors, and legal assistants of the military commissariat; have the primary function of reviewing draft orders and draft enactments of higher military control elements. Besides that, they participate in preparing and carrying out activities directed to the effective use of legal means of strengthening military and work discipline. They also organize and train on current legislation and norms of the international humanitarian law.
This category of legal officers is vested with the function of legal support for working out contracts, handling claims and suits, providing methodical guidance for the legal work in the military unit, analyzing its state upon inspections, working out suggestions on improvement of this work, preparing the annual reviews of legal work in the military unit and their submission upon approval of the commanding officer, to the higher command of the legal service. By the order of the commanding officer, legal officers protect rights and legitimate interests of military control elements, servicemen, and civilian personnel with regard to their duties.
Another important issue supervised by the legal service activity is the care of military equipment. This function is carried out by legal examination of documents submitted to commanders (chiefs) to write off material and financial assets in accordance with established procedure.
The legal counselors to brigade, regimental, 1 rank ship captains, legal advisers of establishments, enterprises and organizations of the Armed Forces of the RE carry out wide ranging legal work. The content of their work depends on the branch of military control element they are stationed. (4)
Thus, legal counselors of the military unit commanders are vested with the function of checking legality of the draft orders of commanding officers and papers submitted to the commanding officer’s authorization to write off material or financial assets in accordance with the established procedure. Besides that, the legal counselor participates in preparing and carrying out activities directed to the effective use of legal means of strengthening military discipline; assists the commanding officer during his appointment hours in counseling servicemen and civilian personnel and their family members on personal affairs; participates in organization and training on current legislation and norms of the international humanitarian law by servicemen; provide legal support in protecting rights and legitimate interests of military unit, servicemen and civil personnel with regard to their duties; takes part in the work of nonprofit counseling office of the garrison. The legal assistants are included in the examination b oards certifying relevant categories of servicemen in their knowledge on fundamentals of law.
The legal support of contractual and claim work for the unit constitutes another sizeable function, as does the preparation of the annual review on the state of legal work in the unit.
Thus, the subdivisions of the legal service, in aggregate, form a harmonious system of the legal service in the Armed Forces of the RE-being subordinate to the chiefs of those military control elements, in whose staff they are included.
B. On Supporting Military Courts
Taking into account specificity of legal service subdivisions of the Armed Forces of the RF one of their tasks is the interaction with the bodies of military prosecutor and military courts to promote legality and one-man-command in the Armed Forces by legal means.
The military courts are formed in the RF in accordance with the Federal. Constitutional Law No. 1 of December 31, 1996 “On the Judicial System in the RF.” They are established according to the territorial principle in the armies and fleets are located and execute judicial authority over troops, control elements, and formations (where the federal law stipulates a military service). The military courts, within the limits of their jurisdiction, try cases as the court of the primary jurisdiction. They try cases as courts of secondary jurisdiction in oversight cases and lawsuits retried due to newly discovered evidence. According to the Federal constitutional law of June 23, 1999 No. 1 “On Military courts of the RF,” the major objectives of military courts are:
– Provision and protection of infringed and/or contested rights, freedom and legally protected interests of the man and citizen, legal entities and their associations;
– Provision and protection of infringed and/or contested rights, freedom and legally protected interests of local government;
– Provision and protection of infringed and/or contested rights, freedom and legally protected interests of the RF, constituent regions of RF, federal authorities and federal authorities of the constituent regions of RF.
Interaction between the legal service, military courts, and offices of military prosecutor are arranged in the following fields:
– Joint meetings of command officers, offices of military prosecutor and military courts on the following issues: the state of preventive work against irregular conduct, conflicts in military collectives and measures to improve that work; the state of legal education of servicemen, work of the military unit command as investigating bodies and measures on their improvement; the preclusion of drug use and drug trafficking among troops, preventive measures against offences related to drunkenness and alcoholism;
– Tasking officers of prosecutor’s offices and military courts to do presentations with the following agendas; training servicemen to use new forms and methods of ensuring safety of state property and preventing acquisitive offences; ensuring legality of commanders’ activity; the protection of social rights and freedoms of the servicemen and members of their families;
– Establishing joint working groups to examine the state of law and order and to assist command of military units in strengthening military discipline;
– Analyzing the reasons of servicemen’s appeals to courts of various levels giving their assessment of how current legislation is observed by military officials;
– Appearance of the military lawyers on local TV and radio programs for servicemen and members of their family members with consultations on law of the RE;
– Arranging training sessions on the in-depth knowledge of Criminal Procedure Code of the RF with investigation officers, together with officers of prosecutor’s offices, teaching forms and methods of identifying and investigating crimes, proper execution of paper work on investigation;
– Probation coordinated with military prosecutors and military judges, of military unit’s investigators at offices of military prosecutors and military courts.
(1.) Federal constitutional law of June 23, 1999 No 1-Federal law “About Military courts Of The RF” Officially published in digest “Collected Legislations” of June’ 28, 1999 No 26 Art 3170; Federal constitutional law of Dec. 31, 1996 No 1-Federal law “About The Judicial System Of The RE”. Officially published in digest “Collected Legislations” of January’ 6 1997 No 1 Art. 1.
(2.) The legal basis of the Office of Prosecutor’s activities is Art. 129 of the Constitution of the RF as well as the Federal Law of Jan. 17, 1992, # 2201-1 (edition of Dec. 29, 2001, with amendments of Dec. 30, 2001).
(3.) Federal Law of January 17, 1992 No. 2202-1 “On Prosecutor’s Office of RF” was officially published in the “Collected laws of RF” of November 20, 1995, Volume 47, page 4472.
(4.) The peculiarity of their activity is reflected in official duties, developed on the basis of common duties, which are embodied in the legal service Rule of the Armed Forces of the RF (order #100 of RF Defense Minister, 1998).
GENERAL-LIEUTENANT GENNADY ZOLOTUKHIN (RET.) *
* General-Lieutenant Zolotukhin (Ret.) is Chief of the Legal Service of the Armed Forces, First Deputy Head of the Administrative Directorate of the Ministry of Defense.
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