Title

Russian Rule-of-Law Abuses to Be Examined at Upcoming Helsinki Commission Hearing

Security, Economic, Human Rights Violations by the Russian Government under Scrutiny
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing:

“Russian Violations of the Rule of Law: How Should the U.S. Respond? 3 Case Studies”

Wednesday, October 21
2:00 PM
Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2255

Live Webcast: http://bit.ly/1VRaf3G

The actions of the Russian government have raised questions about Russia’s failure to respect its commitment to the rule of law in the areas of military security, commerce, and laws bearing on human rights – each corresponding to one of the three dimensions of security established by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  

Using the Helsinki Final Act as a basis for discussion, the hearing will focus on security violations of the Budapest Memorandum; the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Open Skies, Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties, and the Vienna Document.  Regarding international legal and commercial agreements such as the Energy Charter Treaty, the New York Convention and bilateral investment treaties the hearing will review developments in the Yukos Oil case.  On human rights, it will inquire into cases of abduction/unjust imprisonment, torture, and abuse, including those of Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, and Eston Kover.  

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  • Vladimir Kara-Murza, Coordinator, Open Russia Movement
  • Alan Larson, Senior International Policy Advisor with Covington & Burlington LLP, former Under Secretary of State for Economics and Career Ambassador, U.S. State Department     
  • Tim Osborne, Executive Director of GML Ltd. - the majority owner of the now liquidated Yukos Oil Company
  • Stephen Rademaker, Principal with the Podesta Group, Former Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Arms Control and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
Media contact: 
Name: 
Stacy Hope
Phone: 
202.225.1901
Relevant countries: 
Leadership: 
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Moreover, since at least two of these countries -- Armenia and Azerbaijan -- are, essentially, engaged in hostilities, if not actually a state of war, the CSCE's mechanisms for conflict mediation and resolution can be brought into play: a test both for the republics, and the CSCE, especially in the aftermath of the Yugoslavia crisis. The fact that the delegation's visit took place during the CSCE Follow-up Meeting in Helsinki (March-June 1992) offered an appropriate backdrop to this Commission fact-finding mission. This mission had particular resonance in the Central Asian republics, which have long been neglected in the West. In fact, there had been much debate among CSCE participating States as to whether these republics should be admitted to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, as they were manifestly not in Europe geographically, or, in many ways, culturally. Nevertheless, the CSCE's Council of Ministers was persuaded by the argument that the best way to bring Western democratic and free market ideas to the region was to include them in the process. The visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan was motivated by obvious considerations: the increasingly bloody and alarming conflict between them over Nagorno-Karabakh. From an ethnic dispute that threatened to complicate Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program, the conflict has ballooned, with the dissolution of the USSR, into a larger regional conflict with international significance that threatens to involve neighboring states, one of which -­ Turkey -- is a NATO member. From the CSCE perspective, this conflict brings to the fore the inherent contradiction between two equally valid principles of the CSCE: the right of peoples to self-determination, on the one hand; and territorial integrity, with only peaceful change of borders, on the other. 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