Supreme Court rules that police have right to use force to ensure order during rallies
27.09.12 15:20 By News Dept.
The Russian Supreme Court ruled that police and other law enforcement agencies may use force when keeping order at mass rallies, reports Interfax news agency.
"Lawful action taken by police in the performance of their duties, even those which cause harm or the threat of harm, are not cause to act in self-defence if the application of force by law enforcement authorities is to ensure public safety and public order," says the Supreme Court decision.
Prior to this decision, it was noted that the Russian Criminal Code gives citizens the right to act in self-defence against any attack, including from law enforcement officers. The Supreme Court upheld this article and reaffirmed that self-defence is permissible.
However, the court also said that "self-defence cannot be invoked by a person who provokes an attack in order to use it as an excuse to violate the law: to cause injury, hooliganism, conceal another crime, etc."
The Supreme Court also explained that any Russian citizen has the right to use force against a criminal in order to restrain him until law enforcement arrives.
"The right to arrest a person who has committed a crime, is not only given to authorised police representatives, but also to any person, including the victim of a crime, an eyewitnesses, or a person who is aware of a crime that had been committed," the Supreme Court decision explains.
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