Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Russian Prosecutor Rules Businessman was Justified in Stabbing Death of two Armed Robbers

On 12 September, a Russian business man was attacked by armed robbers in his home. The robbers were armed with a gun and a knife. They tied up the business man, his wife, and a friend. The businessman was able to loosen his bonds, and started fighting with the robbers. He obtained a knife. The robbers gun misfired. The businessman killed both robbers. He was charged with murder by excessive force in self defense. Then something interesting happened. From crimerussia.com:
The prosecutor's office conducted a check and did not agree with the findings of the investigators who established that Dedanin exceeded the limits of necessary self-defense. Since the robbers created “a real danger to the life of the defending person,” the entrepreneur’s actions were recognized as permissible. In particular, the men who broke into the businessman’s house threatened him and his wife with weapons and tried to knock the knife out of his hand.
It is refreshing to see a fundamental right to self defense being recognized in a court in Russia.

In 2017, a bill changing the definition of acceptable self defense was filed in the Russian Duma. From rapsinews.com:
The bill introduces changes to Russian legislation on justifiable self-defense. According to the bill, hurting an assailant in the event of intrusion of defender’s place of residence is not to be considered a crime if there was a threat of violence against the defender or another person. Also, if an assailant knowingly threatens to inflict violence against a person in an incapable condition, these circumstances would not constitute exceeding reasonable level of self-defense.
I have not been able determine the fate of the above bill. The Judge in the Dedanin case, appears to be using that definition in the law.

It is much too early to know if this will be a trend. The concept of of self defense is  not very strong in Russian law. One would hope the judge would not be swayed by bribes.

In the old Soviet era, a Russian emigre told me of a case involving a dispute over an apartment in Novosibirsk. The judge made the correct decision, and the emigre was pleased with the result.

Shortly after, a person the emigre relied on as a "fixer" (someone with contacts to get things done in official Soviet circles), talked to him, and said he needed to give the judge 500 rubles.

Why? The emigre asked. The judge made the correct decision. Because if you do not make the bribe, the fixer said, he will hear the case again, and this time, rule against you.

Far more countries on earth are used to systems where "justice" is purchased with bribes than are used to systems where an independent judiciary can, with a fair amount of reliability, be depended on to settle cases according to written law.

Russia may be moving in that direction. Rule by law is a hard fought for part of civilization. It is fragile and unnatural. It has to be cultivated, preserved, and constantly fought for.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The accompanying photo is interesting. What is the whip for???