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A Glimmer Of Democracy In Russia? A Ruling To Favor Open Courts


MOSCOW - The crackdowns against Kremlin opponents continue. Just this past weekend, police detained four opposition leaders and tried to ban a rally demanding an end to Vladimir Putin's rule, Reuters reports.

Still, last week, a decision that got much less attention could take Russia one important step toward a more open, democratic society. The nation's Supreme Court ruled that courts have to follow a series of laws regarding transparency. Although the specific text of the ruling is not yet available, the Supreme court will mandate who must be allowed in the courtroom, where trials should take place, under what circumstances there can be a closed trial and how transcripts of trials will be released on the Internet, Kommersant reports.

Verdicts in cases found to violate the transparency rules will be voided.

Saturday's rally in Mosow (photo: person-behind-the-scenes)

According to Kommersant, this was already codified in law, but routinely ignored by courts around the country. The ruling both aims to allow all citizens to have a transparent trial, as well as to allow journalists as much access as possible to legal proceedings.

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