Prosecutor general condemns checks on judges by investigators

Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said he considers checks on judges and lawyers by the Investigative Committee as wrong.

“Currently there is an imbalance at the pre-trial stage,” Chaika said. “We believe that it is wrong, in respect of judges, lawyers, when pre-investigation checks and initiation of proceedings are held by the Investigative Committee,” he said, adding this amounts to pressure on justice.

The Investigative Committee was set up in 2007 in a bid to streamline Russia’s law enforcement apparatus, and took on some of the Prosecutor General’s authority.

Analysts speaking to Radio Liberty at the time suggested that the move to curtail the enormous power built up over the years by the Prosecutor General’s office.

At the pre-investigation stage, Investigative Committee investigators determine whether an offense was conducted, and if so, initiate criminal proceedings.

Russian media reported earlier in April 2011 that the Kremlin had decided to make the Prosecutor General’s office a part of the Interior Ministry and reduce its authority to present cases against criminals in court.

Chaika also told lawmakers in April that he supported the idea of a Federal Investigations Committee which would separate prosecutorial supervisory and preliminary investigative functions, enhance the committee’s status and expand its jurisdiction.

Chaika also said then he was against giving investigators the right to appeal decisions made by prosecutors in court.

“I believe investigators already have enough authority,” he said.

A long-standing rift between the two offices was brought to light after it was unveiled that high-ranking officials from the prosecutor’s office in the Moscow Region had been involved in large-scale illegal gambling practices.

The General Prosecutor’s office is not involved in a “mudslinging war” with the Investigative Committee, Chaika said in late April.

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