Russian extradition guarantees insufficient, Swiss court rules

The Swiss high court pointed out that in 2019 the European Court of Human Rights found Russia to be in violation of human rights in 186 cases it examined. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Switzerland must examine the human rights situation when issuing extradition orders and not rely solely on prior experience with diplomatic assurances given by Moscow, the Federal Court has said.

This content was published on January 11, 2021 - 14:30

In a ruling published on Monday, the court accepted the appeal made by a former Russian banker whose extradition had been approved by the Swiss authorities in 2019. In that year alone, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dealt with 198 cases concerning Russia, the court pointed out, and found that Russia violated the European Convention on Human Rights in 186 cases.

The Swiss judges also referred to the fate of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after bringing to light a corruption scandal.

Following legislative and constitutional amendments, the Russian Constitutional Court can now prevent the implementation of ECHR decisions, the Swiss court added.

The Federal Criminal Court will now have to take another look at Russian guarantees, and to produce reports or a concrete description of measures taken by Russia to ensure respect for the guarantees made on human rights. It is also compelled to address the rulings made by the ECHR and to look at the system of guarantees in other countries, before issuing any new decisions.

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