Russian Supreme Court: Use of force in protection of public order legal even if it involves infliction of harm

The police and other law enforcement officials are not violating the law when they use force while protecting public order at rallies, the Russian Supreme Court Plenum ruled on Thursday.

In its decision on the use of the legislation in cases relating to the use of necessary defense, the court plenum stated that police officers whose actions are legitimate do not fall under the appropriate provisions of the Russian Criminal Code.

"Legitimate actions by officials fulfilling their professional duties such as the use of force by law enforcement officials in cases outlined by the legislation for the protection of public safety, public order, etc., do not constitute the state of necessary defense even if they involve the infliction of harm or a threat of infliction of harm," the document says.

The court earlier addressed the provision of the Supreme Court Plenum decision on acceptable defense from illegitimate actions by law enforcement officials, Supreme Court Judge Valery Stepanin, who made a report on the matter, said.

"However, this provision was taken off the agenda of today's meeting because it needs some work, in particular, as regards the use of weapons," he said.

In late June, it became known that the draft decision of the Supreme Court Plenum contained a provision allowing active resistance of illegal actions taken by the police.

"Citizens have a right to use active measures to protect themselves from criminal actions taken by officials; for example, protection from unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials is acceptable," the draft Supreme Court Plenum decision said.

At the same time, the document provided that defense from lawful actions taken by officials should not be regarded as necessary defense "even if it involves the infliction of harm or a threat of infliction of harm (the use of force by police officers to protect public order in cases established by the legislation)."

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