Category Archives: news & events

Film – Youth Violence – Bullet Collector (Sobiratel Pul) – Now in Paris

Première projection du premier film de Alexandre Vartanov, “BULLET COLLECTOR” (Sobiratel Pul) en Compétition à l’Etrange festival organisé au Forum des Images.

Son réalisateur, Alexandre Vartanov viendra présenter son film aux projections suivantes :

* Dimanche 9 septembre à 21 h 30 au Forum des Images. (Salle 500)

* Jeudi 13 septembre à 14 h 30 au Forum des Images. (Salle 300)


Le héros du film a 14 ans et il déteste sa vie.

Afin d’échapper à son triste quotidien où il se sent faible et lâche, il s’invente un monde imaginaire dans lequel il se sent noble et courageux.

Envoyé dans une école de redressement, ses rêves et la réalité ne deviennent plus qu’un.

Russie – 2011 – 120 min – Russe – Noir & Blanc

Pour visionner le trailer :

Ce premier film est un hommage radical aux “400 Coups” de François Truffaut.

Il fait aussi écho à la Russie d’aujourd’hui où la violence chez les jeunes reste la seule arme.

Peter H. Solomon Jr., Reform without End: Can Incremental Change Transform Russian Courts?

Talk to Workshop “Judicial Practice in Russia: Sociological Analysis”  Paris, 10 May 2012

This Workshop features a series of reports of fresh research into the nature of judges in Russia, their mindsets, their behaviour and the factors that shape it, especially in the administration of criminal justice. The research, conducted in Russia by young Russian scholars, is socio legal in nature and something all too rare in the post-Soviet world.

 In my presentation I aim to provide background and a framework for appreciating and assessing the meaning of this research. I will focus on judicial and criminal procedural reform over the past 20 years, on what it has achieved and not, and why.

 In the last decades of Soviet power, judges were dependent on both outside political figures and  their immediate superiors within the judiciary (chairs of courts and judges on higher courts). Rank and file judges needed the good will of both to continue in their jobs, to receive perks and benefits, and of course to be promoted. Judges were expected to respond positively to occasional requests about case outcomes and to fulfil general expectations about the processing of cases. This meant above all achieving the required results on quantitative indicators of efficiency and  the quality of judgments, most importantly having a low rate of reversal by higher courts (stabilnost prigovorov). In criminal matters judges were expected to avoid acquittals, a serious black mark since the late 1940s, which meant resorting to a number of substitutes. Avoiding acquittals was one dimension of what came to be known as “prosecutorial bias” (obvinitelnyi uklon).

Eliminating the dependency of individual judges and reducing accusatorial bias in the handling of suspects and accused were the most important goals of the reformers who wrote the Conception of Judicial Reform in 1991. But, sad to say,  twenty Years of Judicial Reform in the Russian Federation, including changes to the status of judges, the organization of the judicial community, and the criminal process itself, have failed to accomplish either goal.

The important question is why. As we shall see, there were at least three proximate causes:

1 Some of the reforms served different (though worthy) purposes, such as accommodating rising caseloads, modernizing the operations of courts, making them more accessible, and improving the accountability of judges.

 2 Reforms that might have helped make judges independent or the criminal process more fair were often undermined by informal practices.  This applies especially to the matters of security of tenure of judges and the adversarial trial.

 3 There was a failure in the reform process to deal with crucial obstacles to impartial conduct by judges, including the excessive power of chairmen of courts, the system of evaluating judges, and the relationship of judges to law enforcement officials.

  I will start by reviewing some highlights of the judicial and criminal procedural reform in post Soviet Russia. Then, I will consider how key reforms were undermined in practice (and attempts to respond to this problem). Finally, I will address core problems that need to be addressed so that Russian can move toward having independent judges and less bias in criminal procedure.

I.Post Soviet Judicial Reform falls into four main phases. The first phase, 1992-1996, saw a serious attempt to put into law key components of judicial independence and to empower the courts—and has been designated by one of the main players of the time Sergei Pashin in his new book Stanovlenie pravosudiia as “the romantic phase”. Security of tenure for judges was a key element in the effort to develop judicial independence, and it was to be provided the legislation of life appointments for federal judges (after a three year probationary term), with removal only for cause and by decision of their peers on the regional JQCs. The reformers also gained approval of the introduction on an experimental basis of trial by jury; and the extension of the jurisdiction of courts to include review of pretrial detention decisions by procurators (as well as of administrative acts).

The second phase of judicial reform, 1996-2000, helped the leaders of the judiciary to establish their collective autonomy (through the creation of the Judicial Department outside the Ministry of Justice) and to add to their capacity through the decision to create a whole new layer of the court system, the Justices of the Peace. As courts of the subjects of the Federation the JPs also gave the regions a piece of the court system, for which they had pushed for years.

The third phase, 2000-2003, was marked above all by a concern with the accountability of judges, leading to dilution of the JQCs (so that one third of their membership became non judges) and the weakening of the protection of judges from criminal and administrative responsibility. It also witnessed the start of a major infusion of funds into the courts, used during the past decade to pay justices of the peace, raise salaries of all judges, pay for computers, and support the addition of clerks or judicial assistants to the staff of courts (producing a new judicial reserve and a way to socialize prospective judges).

Also, in 2001 a new criminal procedure code was adopted aimed at making the system more adversarial and to a degree levelling the playing field between prosecution and defence. Building on earlier decisions of the Constitutional Court, the new Code eliminated a major substitute for acquittals, return to supplementary investigation at the end of the trial, and gave courts full responsibility for approving pretrial detention. Jury trials were also expanded to all parts of the country, and a form of plea bargaining given legislative authorization.

The fourth phase, 2004 to the present, added concern with transparency and accessibility of courts to their ongoing modernization and was marked by the development of court websites and the hiring of press secretaries at many courts. I would be pleased to talk about any of these reform initiatives later on, some of which I was involved with personally.

II.Among the reforms that looked fine on paper but that did not achieve their goals in practice were the mechanisms for ensuring security of tenure of judges and  for levelling the playing field between prosecution and defence in criminal procedure.

From 1993 new judges were appointed to a three year probationary term and then given life appointments. Removal from office remained possible as a form of discipline, but only after the Regional Judicial Qualification Commission decided that a judge had made a serious misstep. However, it turned out that in practice the commissions were under the control of the chair of the regional court, who in turn usually supported the requests of chairs of district courts to remove judges who displeased them (say by giving too many acquittals or having too many decisions changed in cassation or not following instructions). It was all too easy to find a pretext to use as grounds for removal, as was done in the cases of Pashin, Kudeshkina, and Melikov. To be sure, the decisions of the JQCs were subject to review by the Higher Qualification Commission and the Supreme Court, and they sometimes changed the outcome (e.g. Gudkova in 2008), but rank and file judges did and do not have a sense of security. In response to this problem a new Disciplinary tribunal was established in 2010 as the place of last resort for removal of judges, a body composed of three judges each from Supreme and High Arbitrazh courts, elected by their peers. In its first year it reversed one third of the decisions from the regional QCs. The Constitutional Court also ruled it unconstitutional to discipline judges for mere procedural errors, as had been done so often in the past. Moreover, in February 2012 the President endorsed the creation of judicial disciplinary colleges at the circuit level (above the regions) in the hope of attaining impartial reviews at the first hearings in cases of judicial discipline. In short, informed observers have given up on the regional qualifications commissions as hopelessly biased (despite the presence of one third non judges) and have rejected having the same bodies handling the selection and disciplining of judges.

The Criminal Procedure Code of 2001 was meant to reduce the prosecutorial bias that characterized late Soviet and early post Soviet criminal justice in Russia by making the trial adversarial and improving the situation of the accused. Thus, prosecutors would have to establish their cases through the oral examination of witnesses, and could not simply confirm evidence from the case file. Moreover, if the prosecution failed to make its case, the judge could no longer return the case for supplementary investigation, as had been possible from the early 1930s until a CC decision of 1999. Sad to say, these (and other seeming gains for the defense side) did not materialize in practice. One of the first changes introduced on behalf of the police involved situations where witnesses failed to deliver evidence at trial that they had given during the pretrial phase. Instead of requiring the consent of both sides in the case, the modified law required only one side, effectively giving the prosecution the chance to introduce such evidence. While return to supplementary investigation at the end of trials was eliminated, it remained possible for the judge to return a case to the procurator for a short time to fill in gaps in the evidence (and give the state a second chance), but only at the preliminary hearing, not at the end of the trial. In practice, this option was abused, and some cases came back to trial after months rather than a week or two as originally envisaged. Most striking was the fact that the elimination of dosledovanie, one the principal substitute for acquittals, did not led to a significant rise in rates of acquittal, which in cases prosecuted by the state remained well under 1%. (and even these acquittals were often reversed). There was a rise in cases stopped for rehabilitative reasons, a measure close to acquittal, but not by a lot. There was also, it appears, a rise in compromise decisions, a matter that Asmik will address later on.

Of course, trial by jury, used in a small number of serious cases, did produce a high rate of acquittal, causing special distress to investigators from the security police. However, in December 2008 serious crimes against state (terrorism spying, treason) were removed from the purview of juries.

III.The biggest shortcoming of judicial reform in the Russian Federation has been the failure to deal with the main obstacles to impartial and fair adjudication. The first of these is the excessive power of chairs of courts and the way that they are encouraged to exercise that power. The chairmen of courts in Russia are the bosses of their domains, responsible for managing their courts (including all of their support staff) and for ensuring that the judges meet expectations of superiors. The chairs are the key links in a hierarchical chain, and they are also part of informal horizontal networks in the districts and regions where their courts are located. Anyone seeking to influence a decision goes first and foremost to the chair of the court. For individual judges it is the chairs of their courts who control their destiny, not just on major matters like promotion or discipline but also the receipt of bonuses, ranks, vacations, apartments, and access to day care.

Part of the problem with chairs was that their appointments were without time limit, so other judges on the court had to come to terms with their biases and interests. In 2002 it was decided to limit chairs of courts to two six year terms, and with a grandfathering for time left in the current term, no chairs of courts have yet to be removed on rotation. At any event, even 12 years as a chair is way too long for its occupant to act merely as primus inter pares, and the anticipation of reappointment can lead to extra deference to powerful figures (like the chair of the next higher court). It would be better if chairs served for one term of three or four years, so that there could be frequent rotation and some judges on the court who had served as chair in the past.

A second obstacle to fair adjudication is the way judges are evaluated. The system of evaluating judges through formal statistical indicators of performance crystallized in the late 1930s with the centralization of the management of the courts, and it has lasted unchanged and unchallenged to the present day. In addition to encouraging efficiency and rapid processing of cases, the indicators emphasize the content of court decisions and privilege above all the rate of reversal (stabilnost prigovorov). Evaluation of the performance of trial court judges  on the basis of reversals encourages conformity to the needs and expectations of higher court judges rather than creativity, and even constrains judges from giving acquittals when appropriate (because acquittals are reversed by the higher instance nearly half of the time).

There is also the problem of incentives of judges on cassation panels, who are ready to reverse acquittals but loathe to change most convictions, if only because they or their courts may be held responsibility for the conduct of judges on the courts below (the practice of kuratorstvo). A particular challenge is posed by the coming shift in 2013 from cassation as the main form of review of sentences from trial courts to an appeals process in which there will be trial de novo and a new decision by the second instance court. If policy makers cared about a fair and unbiased appellate process, they would design it so that the judges on the appellate panels were in no way constrained from both reversing convictions and supporting acquittals from the courts below.

It is not necessary to use statistical indicators of performance to evaluate judges. AND it is not appropriate to base pay, bonuses, promotion or discipline upon formal evaluations. It is possible to follow the German and Austrian approaches and have judges on higher courts observe trials and read decisions of judges at lower courts as a basis for evaluation. Indeed, in Western Europe judges are expected to demonstrate their skills rather than decide cases as authorities require. As I have argued elsewhere, Russia needs to move away from the counterproductive model of bureaucratic accountability to a skills based model of professional accountability—something that happened in most of Western Europe decades ago. Russia needs to inculcate in its judges through judicial training a set of values about the purpose and craft of judging. It needs to reinforce and apply these values through critical discussions of published decisions of judges and through the activities of independent associations of judges or jurists more broadly.

Another third obstacle to impartial judging is the deference that judges pay to procurators and investigators. For the most part judges seem to regard themselves as contributors to the struggle against crime (as they were officially in Soviet times, when they were members of the same party cells are procurators) and at trial trust and value what procurators say more than the words of advocates. Formally procurators are no longer responsible for supervising legality in the courtroom, but no doubt some of them still feel that they can complain about a judge whom they see as giving any advantage to the accused. Judges may well have reason to be afraid of procurators. Of course, most judges who hear criminal cases spent a few years working in the procuracy or MVD, and this may predispose some of them toward law enforcement interests. Broadening the base of judicial recruitment to include more advocates has been supported even by former President Medvedev, but this has not happened, if only because the chairs of courts are the ultimate decision makers in the hiring of new judges, and those chairs prefer candidates whose conduct is predictable, including those who have already worked at the court..

There is also the matter of the incentives and motivations of investigators and procurators. Are investigators able to stop cases that they have already opened, without harming their indicators? Not easily. What can procurators do to stop weak cases from going to court? Not much anymore (as I understand it), because they have lost the power and responsibility for screening cases that are heading to court. And, according to Asmik and Olga, investigators are still deemed to have failed in their jobs each time an acquittal occurs, notwithstanding the evident decline in their qualifications and skills.

All of our discussion so far has related to factors that continue to produce an accusatorial bias and constrain judges from examining evidence critically and acquitting accused when standards for proving guilt have not been met. But if one cares about adversarialism and fairness in Russian criminal justice, one could not omit consideration of the real revolution in criminal procedure over the past decade, the embracing by advocates, investigators, procurators and judges alike of a form of plea bargaining, what is known as “special procedure of court hearings”.  Any person accused of a crime that brings less than ten years imprisonment (all but the most serious 5 percent) has the option of accepting the charges and agreeing to waive review of the evidence at trial in exchange for the exclusion of the top one third of the sentencing range. This election must be done with legal advice, the victim (if any) must accept the choice, and the judge must agree that the case file includes sufficient evidence to convict before he or she renders a verdict based upon a calculation of all relevant factors. As of 2010 more than sixty percent of accused chose special procedure! And if one adds a share of the nearly 18% of accused whose cases are resolved through reconciliation with the victim (and officially stopped for non rehabilitative reasons), then only one in four accused has a full trial that ends in a sentence. (There some overlap between use of special procedure and reconciliation).

Since hardly any of the accused would receive a sentence in the upper third, they must believe that they receive other benefits, such as early release from pretrial detention or a more lenient punishment than had they gone to trial. A brand new study by Kirill Titaev and colleagues argues that most accused do not get a more lenient sentence than had they gone to trial, especially one that controls for recidivism and the presence of pretrial detention, both of which turn out to be strong predictors of sentence. A minority of accused do seem to benefit, especially those who use special procedure for more serious crimes and those who reach an actual agreement with the investigator or procurator.

What matters to us the fairness of the implementation of special procedure of court hearings in practice. Is undue pressure placed on the accused by counsel and/or the investigators? Are accused persons frightened into waiving the full trial? Another question is how thorough is the review of the file by the judge; would a judge raise a red flag if the evidence looked weak? Another problem on the horizon lies in a proposed change to the Criminal Procedure Code that would allow investigators to simplify their work (put less material in the dossier) when special procedure is invoked. If this happens, will it make the review by the judge perfunctory?

Finally, there is the crucial matter of the mindsets of judges, the deeper answer to the question posted in Griboedov’s play Gore ot uma:  A sud’i kto?  Kirill and Olga will tell us more about the backgrounds and orientations of judges, but some of the basics are well known. As a group judges in Russia are not the most talented jurists; they tend not to be graduates of the best daytime law faculties. Nor, happily, are they products of the many new private law schools of dubious repute, but rather of traditional night and correspondence faculties and institutes. Through this education they tend to learn the letter of the law, but not necessarily about its spirit and not enough about legal reasoning and how to make good legal arguments. Even or especially young judges in Russia are attached to a formalistic and positivistic style of legal reasoning, and the majority do not have a broad understanding of law that includes rights and calls for judges to apply and interpret laws creatively. Do enough of them follow carefully the decisions of high appellate courts (for example the Constitutional Court) and appreciate the relevance of these decisions for their own caseload?

Were the Academy of Justice ever to fulfil its mandate and offer serious training to candidate (or newly appointed) judges, the design of its curriculum would represent a special opportunity to create a different kind of judge for Russia. But for such a judge to survive requires changes in the way judges are held accountable, including the desertion of much of traditional bureaucratic accountability and its replacement by the professional kind.

In short, while Russian courts are more modern, more efficient, and more accessible than twenty years ago, the administration of criminal justice retains its accusatorial bias and judges in criminal matters remain heavily constrained. Moreover, as we shall learn in the reports to come, the younger generation of judges shows no signs of improvement over the older one. Perhaps, even the reverse, as younger judges may be more attached to formal processing of papers and less concerned with justice in the moral sense of the word.

 I wonder whether this is as much the situation at the Justice of the Peace courts as in the district and regional ones. In theory, JPs are supposed to be accessible and to encourage reconciliation among the parties. On the other hand, they face much higher caseloads than their counterparts at the district courts. In addition, more of the JPs have backgrounds from outside the courts, such as work in government agencies or the advokatura. It would be interesting to compare these two sets of judges, in both mindset and behavior.

Seminar “The Judiciary in Practice in Contemporary Russia”, May 10th – The recordings on-line

On May 10th, 2010 took place at the CERI in Paris a seminar dedicated to “The Judiciary in Practice in Contemporary Russia”. You will find below the recordings of that seminar.



9h30 – Introduction : Gilles Favarel-Garrigues (CERI-Sciences Po), Amandine Regamey (Université Paris I, CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS) FULL TEXT (french)

10h-10h45 : Peter H. Solomon Jr (University of Toronto), “Reform without End: Can Incremental Changes Transform Russian Courts?” FULL TEXT

10h45-11h Pause-café

 11h-13 h : Session 1. De l’instruction au jugement : les affaires pénales en pratique

Président : Kirill Koroteev (European Humanities University, Vilnius)

Ella Paneyakh (Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at Saint Petersburg) : Bureaucratie, fermeture et violence légale : l’accusation dans la justice pénale russe

Asmik Novikova (Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow) : Acquittement impossible ? Les moyens de contrôle des juges sur l’enquête

Discutant : Christian Mouhanna (CNRS, CESDIP)


14h30-16h30 –Session 2. Les juges russes : portrait d’une profession

Présidente : Aurore Chaigneau (Université d’Amiens)

Kirill Titaev (Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at Saint Petersburg) : Les juges russes comme groupe professionnel

Olga Shepeleva (Public Interest Law Institute, Moscow) : L’isolement social des juges et la formation des stéréotypes professionnels

Discutant : Denis Salas  (Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature, Paris)

16h30-16h45 Pause-café

 16h45 – 18h Table ronde. Discrimination judiciaire, condamnations et recours en Russie

Animée par : Anne Le Huérou (CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS)

Avec : Juliette Cadiot (CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS), Aurore Chaigneau, Kirill Koroteev, Christian Mouhanna, Asmik Novikova, Ella Paneyakh, Denis Salas, Olga Shepeleva, Peter H. Solomon Jr, Kirill Titaev

The Judiciary in Practice in Contemporary Russia: Seminar in Paris, May 10th

logos ceri et cercec


Programm in Russian/программа на русском

La justice russe au quotidien. Regards sociologiques sur les pratiques judiciaires 

Paris, 10 mai 2012  –  CERI, 56 rue Jacob, 9h30-18h

Dans le cadre du projet « Comprendre les violences en Russie : guerres, système politique, trajectoires sociales »

(programme émergence(s) de la Mairie de Paris).logo mairie de Paris


L’objectif de cette journée d’étude est de comprendre comment fonctionne la justice pénale russe au quotidien. Malgré les réformes entreprises depuis l’adoption de la « Conception de la réforme judiciaire en RSFSR » (24.10.1991), l’image de la justice reste négative tant en Russie qu’à l’étranger. La soumission des juges au pouvoir politique est particulièrement dénoncée, en marge des procès les plus retentissants (ceux de MM. Khodorkovski et Lebedev, par exemple) ou bien encore en réaction à l’impunité pour les crimes commis lors de la guerre en Tchétchénie. Cette allégeance est vue comme un signe d’inertie, montrant que la justice pénale en Russie demeure aujourd’hui encore prisonnière de son passé soviétique. L’image de la justice russe est aussi celle d’une corruption endémique. C’est d’ailleurs au nom de la lutte contre ce phénomène que V. Poutine a poursuivi la réforme judiciaire à partir de 2001. Cette politique est censée répondre à une défiance générale vis-à-vis des institutions, engendrant selon l’expression reprise par D. Medvedev un niveau élevé de « nihilisme juridique » au sein de la population. Des analyses plus nuancées relèvent cependant que des progrès ont été réalisés durant la décennie 2000. Elles appellent notamment à distinguer l’évolution positive de la justice commerciale (arbitrazh, cf. Hendley) et celle de la justice pénale, dont l’inertie est dénoncée par les observateurs.

Ce sont ces représentations que la journée d’étude proposée cherche à interroger, en rassemblant des contributions qui analysent au plus près les pratiques judiciaires et en les faisant commenter par des spécialistes de ces sujets hors du contexte russe. Cette démarche se place dans la continuité des journées d’études précédemment organisées par le projet « Comprendre les violences en Russie », mené dans le cadre du CERCEC avec un soutien du programme Emergence(s) de la mairie de Paris. Après nous être interrogé sur l’action de la police et sur les prisons russes, nous cherchons à comprendre ce qui se passe lors de cette étape du processus judiciaire qu’est le procès. Peut-on considérer la justice, au même titre que la police et que la prison, comme coproductrice d’une violence institutionnelle ? Et si oui, comment l’expliquer ? En dépassant la vision d’une « justice aux ordres », nous nous interrogerons sur les juges, leurs pratiques et les explications qui peuvent en être données.

Afin de nourrir la discussion, plusieurs thèmes seront abordés.

1- Qui juge ? Sociologie des magistrats. Qui sont les magistrats, quelle est leur formation et leur trajectoire professionnelle ? Comment s’opère la mobilité institutionnelle des magistrats entre le parquet et le tribunal ? Comment sont traités les juges et quelles sont leurs perspectives de carrière ? Comment sont-ils évalués et quelles sont les sanctions qui pèsent sur leur activité ?  Y a-t-il une différence au niveau sociologique entre les « juges de paix », compétents pour les affaires civiles et pénales de faible importance, et les autres magistrats ? Quelle place est-elle accordée aux jurys populaires  et comment les juges se situent-ils par rapport à ces jurys ?

2- Comment juge-t-on ? Sociologie des pratiques judiciaires : Comment expliquer que la part des acquittements en représente pas plus d’un pour cent des décisions de justice (Pashin, 2010) ? Quel est le poids des pratiques et habitudes soviétiques dans le travail de la justice ? Quelle est l’évolution de la pratique du plea bargaining qui concernerait jusqu’à 60% des affaires qui n’arrivent pas au tribunal, mais aussi l’évolution de la pratique des acquittements ? Que sait-on et que peut-on savoir de la manière dont sont prises les décisions judiciaires ? Quelle est notamment la place des consignes hiérarchiques et de l’autonomie des juges par rapport aux pouvoirs politiques locaux et régionaux (financement) mais aussi à la hiérarchie judiciaire ? Quel rôle continue ou non de jouer la prokouratoura, chargée de l’instruction, dans la décision judiciaire, en particulier depuis que les fonctions d’enquête de la prokouratoura ont été confiées en 2007 à un comité d’instruction (sledstvenny komitet) d’abord placé sous son autorité puis devenu indépendant ? Quelle est enfin la place des avocats, depuis l’adoption d’une loi en 2002 qui a réglementé l’organisation de cette profession ?

3 – Qui juge-t-on ? Les résultats de l’action judiciaire appellent une dernière série de questions. Comment évoluent les peines infligées par les juges et quelle est notamment la place occupée par la détention (90% des affaires pénales jugées ?) ? Comment évoluent les pratiques d’acquittement ? Quel est le profil sociologique des condamnés ? Peut-on évaluer la manière dont sont prises les décisions de justice en fonction du profil sociologique, ethnique des condamnés ou de leur sexe ? Peut-on parler de « harcèlement judiciaire » qui toucherait certaines catégories de population (les entrepreneurs, les migrants, les opposants politiques) ? Comment évolue la répression de certains crimes comme la violence xénophobe, dont le traitement judiciaire est sensible au contexte politique ? Comment fonctionnent les recours (appel, « surveillance judiciaire » – soudebny nadzor) ?


Lieu : CERI 56 rue Jacob, 75006 Paris salle de conférences

Langues de travail : français, anglais, russe. Une traduction simultanée français / russe sera assurée.


9h30 – Introduction : Gilles Favarel-Garrigues (CERI-Sciences Po), Amandine Regamey (Université Paris I, CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS)

10h-10h45 : Peter H. Solomon Jr (University of Toronto), “Reform without End: Can Incremental Changes Transform Russian Courts?”

10h45-11h Pause-café

 11h-13 h : Session 1. De l’instruction au jugement : les affaires pénales en pratique

Président : Kirill Koroteev (European Humanities University, Vilnius)

Ella Paneyakh (Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at Saint Petersburg) : Bureaucratie, fermeture et violence légale : l’accusation dans la justice pénale russe

Asmik Novikova (Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow) : Acquittement impossible ? Les moyens de contrôle des juges sur l’enquête

Discutant : Christian Mouhanna (CNRS, CESDIP)


13h-14h30 Déjeuner


14h30-16h30 –Session 2. Les juges russes : portrait d’une profession

Présidente : Aurore Chaigneau (Université d’Amiens)

Kirill Titaev (Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at Saint Petersburg) : Les juges russes comme groupe professionnel

Olga Shepeleva (Public Interest Law Institute, Moscow) : L’isolement social des juges et la formation des stéréotypes professionnels

Discutant : Denis Salas  (Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature, Paris)

16h30-16h45 Pause-café

 16h45 – 18h Table ronde. Discrimination judiciaire, condamnations et recours en Russie

Animée par : Anne Le Huérou (CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS)

Avec : Juliette Cadiot (CERCEC, EHESS-CNRS), Aurore Chaigneau, Kirill Koroteev, Christian Mouhanna, Asmik Novikova, Ella Paneyakh, Denis Salas, Olga Shepeleva, Peter H. Solomon Jr, Kirill Titaev


En lien avec la journée d’étude, à consulter sur notre site, plusieurs articles consacrés à la justice russe  :

Sergei Pashin, “L’impuissance judiciaire”, Nevolia n°22, 2010, en français

Un article de la journaliste Svetlana Reiter paru dans Bolshoi Gorod du 1er février 2012, résumé en français




Research Project – Physical Violence and State Legitimacy in Late Socialism

We  are pleased to introduce to you to the site of a project that can have a lot in common with ours, though it is more focused on the late Soviet period. Excerpt from the home page ” The network investigates the relationship between physical violence and state legitimacy in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, addressing the following questions: How did the state control violence after Stalin? How did political legitimation change after 1956? How were these changes related to the repression and to the use of violent force? To what extent did physical violence disappear from politics? How was physical violence in the private sphere dealt with? Did these changes contribute to the decline of communism?”  see the site

Memorial Announces Release of New Book on Enforced Disappearances in Chechnya

On February 13th, Human Rights Center Memorial will hold a press conference to present its new book on enforced disappearances in Chechnya between 1999 and 2000.

venue : Memorial Society, Maly Karetny pereulok d5/10

Participants :

Oleg Orlov — director of the human Rights center Memorial

Ekaterina Sokirjanskaja — director for the North Caucasus, International Crisis Group.

Rukijat Hadzhieva —  “Memorial” HR center

Aslan Hadziev — “Memorial” HR center

Aleksandr Cherkasov,”Memorial” HR center



Call for Applications – Fourth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine “Violence and its Aftermath in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Context”, Zhytomyr (Ukraine), 4-10 July 2012

Embassy of France in Ukraine
Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada)
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] (France)
Internet network “”
Research project “Understanding Violence in Russia”
Doctoral School of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine)
French-Russian Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences in Moscow (Russia)
Zhytomyr State University (Ukraine)

Program description:

“How naïve, how kindly and patriarchal the old prisons huddled on the outskirts of towns now appeared – beside these camp-cities, beside the awful crimson-black glow that hung over the gas ovens! You might well think that the management of such a vast number of prisoners would have required an equally vast army of guards and supervisors. In fact, whole weeks would pass by without anyone in an SS uniform so much as appearing inside the barrack-huts. It was the prisoners themselves who policed the camp-cities (…) It seemed as though the German authorities could disappear altogether, the prisoners would maintain the high-voltage current in the wires and go on with their work.”

This is the way Vasily Grossman, a Soviet writer born in a Jewish family in central Ukraine, defines in his major novel Life and Fate the level and sophistication of violence reached in the XXth century. The novel dedicated to the Second World War is a reflection on the management of violence in war conditions and its ambiguity, but also on the violence experienced by political prisoners in Stalinist camps and on the pervasiveness of violence in all spheres of life.  Having lost his mother in the Berdichev ghetto during the war, the writer dedicated his novel to her and her shadow is present in the author’s whole work of writing and memory.

Following Grossman’s path, not only symbolically but also physically by installing the school near his native city, the Summer School will address the complexity and the aftermaths of violence, not only in war times, but also in times of peace, in the Soviet and post-Soviet context.

The Fourth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine will provide a unique forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest research on violence issues, involving specialists of the topic, as well as young promising researchers.

The School is interdisciplinary. The organizers welcome proposals from the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and adjacent fields. While the primary focus will be on the socialist and post-socialist era (in the former Soviet Union, Central, Eastern and Southern Europe), pre-Soviet history may also be examined. The discussions and presentations will analyze different dimensions of violence: war and non-war situations; state management of violence, as well as individual and collective strategies; mechanisms of violence outbreak; violent practices and post-violence situations; perpetrators and victims; sources and methods.

Some of the issues of particular interest to the School include:

•    State monopoly of violence, implementation and resistance (past and present)

o    Soviet repressive practices
o    Police: use of force and violent practices
o    Justice, prison, coercion
o    Terrorism and anti-terrorism
o    State management of public protest
o    Violence of/towards economic actors (mafia, raids)

•    War and post-war, conflict situations

o    Mobilization and control of violence in combat
o    Civil population during war and post-conflict
o    Ethnic conflicts, border conflicts, other forms of mass violence
o    Return to civilian life

•    Violent practices and violent behaviour

o    State and non-state violence towards property or objects
o    Social, domestic and everyday violence
o    Gendered dimension of violence
o    Violence and non-violence as a strategy for political, social and economical actors
o    Public protest practices: strikes, demonstrations
o    Education and socialization to violence

•    Memory and representation of violence

o    Collective memory of violence
o    Representation of violence in media and art
o    Life course and trauma
o    Veterans and veterans’ movements

The Summer School is designed to be interdisciplinary and international. Participants are expected to present their own work and to participate in group discussions. The School’s program consists of lectures, panel presentations and discussions, as well field trips within the region, followed by discussion sessions.

Zhytomyr (Central Ukraine, 130 km from Kyiv) is nowadays a middle-sized city of 278,000 inhabitants in a mostly rural area. The official founding date is 884, though this fact and has only a legendary basis. The first records of the town date from 1240 and are linked to Zhytomyr being sacked by the Mongols of Batu Khan. Successively Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Soviet and Ukrainian, the town has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
From the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, many Poles and Jews lived here. The Jewish roots of Vladimir Lenin are related to Zhytomyr. His grandfather, Mr Blank, belonged to the local town dwellers. In Zhytomyr for a long time lived Khaim Byalik – one of the founders of the modern Hebrew language. The Zhytomyr region is also related to the biography and writings by authors such as Honoré de Balzac, Lesya Ukrainka, and Józef Kraszewski. The famous musicians Svyatoslav Richter and Juliusz Zarembski are also Zhytomyr natives.
During the Soviet years – and still nowadays – the city was more willing to be proud of another of his children, the designer of the first Soviet space rockets Sergey Korolev; two local museums commemorate its life and the Soviet conquest of the space.
During the 20th century Zhytomyr has gradually lost its multicultural nature. The predominant Jewish community was largely annihilated in the Holocaust; the Soviet migration policy has brought there a more mixed population. Today, Zhytomyr is a rather typical post-Soviet city, combining in its landscape architectural traces of the old times, past conflicts injuries, Soviet urbanization marks and post-Soviet commercial development.

One week, Wednesday 4 – Tuesday 10 July 2012.

The Summer School is open to PhD students (or students enrolled in a kandidat nauk program) and young researchers (up to six years removed from their PhD or kandidat nauk degree). Empirically grounded proposals are particularly welcomed.

The working language of the Summer School will be English, and it is important that prospective participants have a good knowledge of this language.

The selection committee will select candidates based on their responses to this Call for Proposals. The selected candidates will be advised before the end of May.

Program Costs
There is no program fee. Local transportation from/to Kyiv, accommodation, meals, classes, lectures, seminars and excursions are provided by the organizers and free of charge. The participants or their universities should only pay the travel expenses from the participant’s country to Kyiv.

How to apply?
To be considered for the Summer School, candidates must complete an application form (that includes a 500 word project proposal) and add a CV. They can also send an additional written sample, such as a conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or a publication (optional). The application must be sent by e-mail to, by 15 April 2012.

The application form can be requested at or downloaded on the following address: or in the attached file  Application_form_ZSS-1

For more information, please contact us at

15TH APRIL 2012