EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 46/07/95
15 March 1995
Further information (5) on UA 446/94 (EUR 46/03/94, 15 December 1994) and
follow-ups (EUR 46/01/95, 4 January 1995, EUR 46/02/95, 25 January, EUR
46/03/95, 1 February, EUR 46/06/95, 13 March) - Appeal for respect of
RUSSIAIntroduction of death penalty for "illegal armed formations" moves a
On 10 March 1995, it was reported that the State Duma, Russia's lower house
of parliament, had overridden a resolution by the Federation Council, the upper
house, rejecting the vote on 20 January by the State Duma to introduce a new
article into the Criminal Code punishing "the organization of, or participation
in, illegal armed formations". The new Article 77-2 carries a sentence of
up to eight years' imprisonment for such action, and a possible death sentence
if this is accompanied by "mass violence, the death of people or other serious
damage". Those fighting Russian troops introduced into the self-proclaimed
Chechen Republic in December 1994 are frequently referred to by government
sources as "illegal armed formations".
The State Duma exercised its authority to overrule the Federation Council by
a two-thirds majority vote. It has been reported that the proposed Criminal
Code amendment introducing Article 77-2 will now go to President Yeltsin to
be signed into law. According to the Constitution, the President has 14 days
in which to either sign a law submitted to him or return it to the State Duma
and the Federation Council for further examination.
Amnesty International takes no position on territorial disputes. The
organization's concern about this issue stems from its opposition to the death
penalty in all cases, without reservation, on the grounds that it is a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. Amnesty International is urging President
Yeltsin to ensure that the use of the death penalty in Russia is not extended
to this or any other laws.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express and airmail
- urging that all appropriate steps be taken to ensure that the use of the
death penalty is not extended to the new law on "illegal armed formations",
or to any other law, on the grounds that it is a violation of the right to
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 15 per section.
President of the Russian Federation, Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin
Prezidentu Rossiyskoy Federatsii YELTSINU B.N.
Telegrams: Rossiya, Moskva, Kreml, Prezidentu Yeltsinu
Faxes: +7 095 206 51 73
Salutation: Dear President