Business Ombudsman Proposes Law to Allow Jury Trials for Economic Crimes

Russia’s Business Rights Commissioner Boris Titov has proposed a bill which would allow jurors to examine economic crimes cases, reports.

Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code propose for people charged with medium, grave and especially serious crimes to gain the right to petition for a jury trial. These accused include individual entrepreneurs, company shareholders and founders, chief accountants, governing board members.

In February, Titov expressed hope that putting in place the respective legislative procedure was to take little time, as there were no significant legal barriers. He believed jurors, although not necessarily well versed in complex economic matters, were able to find out the motives behind defendants’ actions proceeding from their personal experience and knowledge of relations between people, the Business Ombudsman said adding that the proposal came after numerous complaints from businesses.

Nevertheless, Titov suggested that jurors should not be authorized to try all economic crimes cases. According to him, it would be feasible if the initiative was first implemented in cases over fraud, embezzlement, and abuse of authority.

Earlier, the Supreme Court Chair Vyacheslav Lebedev proposed to empower jurors to examine economic crimes cases in a statement at a judicial conference.

Taking into account the fact that Russian courts have sufficient experience in examining cases tried by jury, Lebedev noted, it was possible to extend this procedure to the criminal cases over all especially serious crimes and economic crimes on condition the materials thereof contain no state secrets.

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