Независимость российских судей в условиях их несменяемости
This article became the fourth one of a series of studies by the author of various aspects of the independence of the judiciary. It is dedicated to the implementation of the principle of irremovability of judges as one of the proclaimed guarantees of their independence.
The article analyzes the institutional and individual independence of the courts and the judges, and concludes that it is the individual independence of judges that plays a special role in ensuring the independence of the entire judiciary as a whole.
As part of the research, the reader's attention is drawn to the constituent elements of the irremovability of judges: the period of empowering the status of federal judges and a special procedure for suspension and termination of their powers.
The author criticizes various age limits set by the legislator in terms of termination of the power of a judge. In his opinion, such a differentiated approach contradicts both the general principle of equality and the principle of the unity of the status of judges. As a result, сhief judges of the higher courts, taking into account the possibility of their repeated reassignment, become harmfully dependent on the person who has the right to nominate them for the positions of Chair and Vice-President of the corresponding court.
There are disappointing forecasts for the implementation of the constitutional amendment that expands the power of the Russian President to revoke the status of judges of the Constitutional, Supreme, cassation and appeal courts of the Russian Federation.
The article examines in detail the procedure for bringing judges to disciplinary responsibility, which is again set to ensure their independence. However, the procedure rather allows to be used for the purpose of controlling and exerting pressure on judges, taking into consideration the existing shortcomings. In this regard, the author justifies and suggests an impressive list of measures which may affect and change the situation. These measures include changing the structure of the qualification boards of judges, restricting the participation of the judicial leadership and higher courts in them, their expansion by the judges of the Constitutional Court, strengthening public participation in them and establishing the possibility to contest the decisions of the qualification boards of judges by applicant citizens.