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Putin approves law to favor Russia constitution over international law

Putin approves law to favor Russia constitution over international law
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed bill Tuesday to give the Russian constitution precedence over certain international law. File Photo by Yuri Kochetkov/EPA-EFE

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Tuesday that favors the Russian constitution over international treaties.

The bill amends Russian law to prevent implementation of international treaties that conflict with the newly reformed Russian constitution, raising human rights concerns.

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The move represents the third time in four years Russian authorities have pushed for precedence of Russian law over international law, according to Human Rights Watch.

The international non-governmental human rights organization cited a 2015 law in particular that allowed the Constitutional Court to review international human rights rulings and declare them "non-executable" if they contradict the constitution.

"Putin's proposal goes one step further, by enshrining in the constitution that international law, treaties, and decisions of international bodies are valid only if they "do not restrict rights and freedoms" or contradict the constitution," Human Rights Watch said in a statement at the time the law was proposed.

Putin also signed bills into law elevating the State Council advisory body and criminalizing secession.

The State Council is defined under the new law as a constitutional state body that ensures the coordinated work of government, and sets priorities in domestic and foreign policy, and social and economic development.

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The new secession law amends the criminal code to set prison terms of up to 10 years for violations of Russia's territorial integrity and fines for public calls for territorial concessions.

Earlier this year, Russians voted to pass constitutional amendments that allow Putin to extend his presidency until 2036.

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