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Book chapter

Priority of International Law v. Supremacy of the Russian Constitution: Collision of Fundamental Principles

This chapter aims at establishing the current balance between two fundamental legal principles in the Russian legal system - priority of international law and supremacy of the Constitution throughout the territory of the state. It argues that (1) because both principles have the same – highest – constitutional status in the legal system and this status is clearly defined, reconciliation of their hierarchical prevalence is extremely problematic; (2) the federal legislator introduced a delicate mechanism of resolving conflicts between international courts and tribunals and domestic law, however, the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) retains a very wide margin of appreciation as to when such mechanism can be applied; (3) although all possible measures are taken by the RCC to ensure harmonious combination of national and international decisions in the Russian legal system, in exceptional cases Russian highest courts do adhere to the ‘strongest available protection of human rights’ principle to resolve possible conflicts of interpretation between international norms and the Russian Constitution.