Few people know and remember the very special position of the prosecutor's office in the structure of the state. It is not included in any of the branches of power and, according to the laws of the Russian Federation, exercises control over all branches of power.
Novye Izvestia has already written that on April 6 a bill was submitted to the State Duma giving the Prosecutor General's Office the right to close down any Russian media without investigation or trial. Consideration in the first reading is scheduled for May 18.
The fact that the provisions of the draft law contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation and individual laws has already been said by many lawyers and publicists.
Therefore, let us dwell on what is not widely known - on the tasks, rights, powers of the prosecutor's office, on its status. In the mass consciousness, the prosecutor's office is perceived solely as a punitive body, a party to public prosecution in lawsuits. In fact, this is only one side of the coin.
In the USSR, the prosecutor's office was also ... a protector of citizens, a punishing sword for public services. In state structures, including, and above all, in the power structures, they acted with a constant eye on the prosecutor's office.
Let me give you the most commonplace example from the life of the police in 1966, in a distant provincial town. As a boy, while still working in the criminal investigation department, I came to a citizen who was suspected of being involved in unseemly cases. It seems to just talk, talk about certain topics. He lived in a one-story factory building with four apartments, with a common corridor. He did not answer a knock on the door. The neighbors said that he was probably sleeping drunk, it often happens to him, but I can go in, wake him up, his door is never locked. I, out of stupidity and inexperience, entered. Nobody was there. He stood, looked around, left. That's all, a trifle not worth mentioning, right?
But my boss, Nikolai Teterkin, senior detective of the city's criminal investigation department, gave me a scolding: “Don't you understand at all?! In front of the neighbors! They will bring us under the prosecutor’s office!”
In particular, any evidence that could be found during a potential search, the prosecutor's office could appeal. And me - to be held accountable for illegal intrusion. And, of course, with reprimands to the head of the city criminal investigation department and the head of the city police department. Teterkin's reaction is evidence that this was not a joke then.
The official status, tasks and powers of the prosecutor's office in the Russian Federation remained the same as in the USSR. Another thing is that in society for some reason little is known about them. Apparently this practice is not common. And we do not bother to look into the fundamental legislative acts.
The prosecutor's office is a special body in the system of the state. She, according to the theory, the general plan, is two-in-one. It punishes and protects.
And so let's take a closer look at the text of official documents.
Article 129 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and Article 1 of the Federal Law "On the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation" read (http://kremlin.ru/acts/constitution/item#chapter7):
"The Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation is a unified federal centralized system of bodies that oversee the observance of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the implementation of laws, oversee the observance of human and civil rights and freedoms, criminal prosecution in accordance with their powers, and also perform other functions".
Supervision over the observance of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen is a duty, a duty of the prosecutor's office.
“In order to ensure the rule of law, unity and strengthening the rule of law, protecting the rights and freedoms of man and citizen the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation carries out:
supervision over the implementation of laws by federal executive bodies, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, representative (legislative) and executive bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, local government bodies, military administration bodies, control bodies, their officials, subjects of public control over ensuring human rights in places detention and assistance to persons in places of detention by management bodies and heads of commercial and non-profit organizations, as well as compliance with the laws of legal acts issued by them.
That is, the prosecutor's office, in the name of the rights and freedoms of all citizens, monitors the actions of all authorities, can and must hold them accountable for violating our rights and freedoms.
Chairman of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin in his "Commentary on the Constitution of the Russian Federation" writes:
“It follows from the content of the Constitution that the prosecutor's office does not belong to either the legislative, or the executive, or the judiciary”. (M.: Eksmo, 2010)
Developing Zorkin's thesis, lawyers conclude:
“The Prosecutor's Office is an independent centralized federal body. The prosecutor's office must exercise its powers independently of federal and regional state authorities and local self-government bodies.
The prosecutor's office is not included in any of the branches of power and, according to the laws of the Russian Federation, exercises control over all branches of power.
And that is why the draft law submitted to the State Duma poses unsolvable tasks for the prosecutor's office.
Firstly, if it starts to close the media without trial or investigation, it will violate both the Federal Law on the Press and the Constitution of the Russian Federation:
Everyone is guaranteed freedom of thought and speech. <…> Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information in any legal way. <…> Freedom of the mass media is guaranteed. Censorship is prohibited".
Secondly, freedom of speech, freedom of the media is an integral part of fundamental human rights and freedoms. If the prosecutor's office starts to close the media without trial or investigation, it will violate the human rights and freedoms that it is designed to protect. Thus, it will violate the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Federal Law on itself:
"The Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation is a single federal centralized system of bodies exercising supervision over the observance of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the execution of laws, supervision over the observance of human rights and freedoms".
Thus, bill No. 101646-8 puts the prosecutor's office in an ambiguous, hopeless situation.