Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The requirement to extradite RF citizen Maria Rouz rejected by the RA Ministry of Justice

July 17, 2023

Activities | Legal Support | Legal Support | Rights | Right to Freedom from Torture | Publications

Citizens of the Russian Federation, who are prosecuted in their country for their political views and are currently in the Republic of Armenia, will not be extradited


On 30 May 2023, HCAV was informed that  on the same day in the evening, Maria Rouz was apprehended from her residence place, together with her 7-year-old child, to the RA Police Malatia department, without any adequate explanation. They were held in the department for more than 6 hours and released at around 23:00. In the police department, from the very first moment of the detention, HCAV advocate Samson Galtsyan provided legal support to M.Rouz. While being deprived of her liberty, Maria Rouz was informed that there was an ongoing discussion about transferring her to the place of detention in order to later extradite her to the RF, and transferring her child to “Zatik” care center. The police officers justified all this by the Prosecutor’s instructions. In order to provide legal support and a rapid response on the spot, advocate S.Galstyan called the HRD and RA Prosecutor General’s Office and presented a legal claim to recognize the detention as illegal. M.Rouz and her minor child were released later that evening.


In the frame of the Organization’s legal support, letters have been addressed to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office, the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the RA Ministry of Justice.


On 29 June 2023, the RA Prosecutor General’s Office stated in a response letter that the Prosecutor’s Office had received a motion to extradite Maria Rouz (who was wanted by the RF competent bodies) to the RF bodies, and the motion was sent to the RA Ministry of Justice in accordance with the acting procedure.


Upon learning about the motion, accompanied by HCAV advocate, M.Rouz filed an application with the Migration Service of the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs to get asylum in the RA, and participated in an interview.


HCAV addressed a letter to the RA Ministry of Justice, claiming to deter and entirely eliminate the extradition process, since in case of returning or extraditing Maria Rouz, she would inevitably be subjected to torture and degrading treatment, which is prohibited by both the RA Constitution and domestic legislation, as well as all the international treaties and conventions ratified by the RA.


At the same time, in the context of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, HCAV lawyers lodged an application with the ECHR to indicate an interim measure “to refrain from any activity related to extraditing the applicant to the Russian Federation”.


In response to the Organization’s application, the RA Ministry of Justice stated that according to the Minister’s decision of 06.07.2023, Maria Rouz’s extradition to the Russian Federation was rejected on account of the condition excluding extradition under international treaties ratified by the Republic of Armenia.


The decision of the RA Ministry of Justice to eliminate extradition on account of the RA Convention obligations and not meeting the illegal requirement of a state considered a strategic ally is indeed a precedent-setting approach, which is welcome.


The RA Ministry of Justice has thus recorded that in case of extraditing M.Rose to the RF, her right to be free from ill-treatment, and her right to life (both safeguarded by the Convention) would be violated, i.e., her fundamental rights would be violated in the RF.


Thus, once again we state that the Republic of Armenia, represented by its authorities, should respect human rights and freedoms in accordance with the imperative requirement of the international treaties ratified by the RA.


Noteworthy, the prosecution against Maria Rouz is based exclusively on a political pretext. 

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