Staunton, June 28 – Russian courts do rule that information extracted by torture is not admissible in legal proceedings, but they are quite prepared to accept evidence found on the basis of that information, something that makes the use of torture both inevitable and widespread, Kirill Titiyev says.
In most countries, courts exclude not only the information extracted by torture but also any information collected on the basis of it, the director of the Moscow Institute on Problems of Law Enforcement points out (meduza.io/feature/2019/06/26/my-znaem-chto-pravoohranitelnaya-sistema-v-rossii-prognila-no-kak-eto-proizoshlo-i-chto-s-etim-delat).
Consequently, there is little chance that the police will be penalized for using torture against those they are investigating – and a very real one that they will be rewarded for solving crimes through its use, especially given the way in which their work is evaluated in terms of convictions and the hyper-centralized and over-formalized police system in Russia.
Titiyev devotes most of his 6,000-word interview to those problems, arguing that hyper-centralization undermines the ability of police to respond as they should to local conditions and over-formalization means that they spend entirely too much time filling out forms rather than fighting crime.
He also details problems that are often overlooked, including the existence of separate police higher educational institutions where legal instruction is far less good than in others and where future policemen acquire attitudes toward torture and corruption that make it difficult if not impossible to improve the situation.
Titiyev also says that the system fails because magistrates often repeat the investigations of the police, the courts assume that any case presented to them should result in a finding of guilty, and the population, understanding all this more or less well does its best to avoid reporting crimes.
All this allows the powers that be to argue that the Russian system is more successful than others in fighting crime when in fact it is simply better at hiding what is really going on to the detriment of the population. The situation with the magistracy suffers from many of the same problems, Titiyev concludes.
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