Russian President Vladimir Putin made the final push on Tuesday for the Constitutional Court of Russia to choose to nullify decisions of international human rights courts, including the European Court of Human Rights.
Putin signed a law on Tuesday to bring an amendment to the effect that will leave it to the discretion of the Russian Constitutional Court whether to enforce rulings by international courts. The Russian president or the government can ask the court to consider if decisions by international courts were enforceable in the country.
"The Russian Constitutional Court solves the question of the possibility of the execution of the decision of the interstate body for the protection of human rights and freedoms," the amendment says, according to TASS news agency.
Human rights activists described the development as 'grim'.
"Grim day for Russia: Putin signs law to let Moscow bin international human rights rulings," Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director for Human Rights Watch tweeted on Tuesday.
The bill, which was adopted by the Russian parliament earlier this month, was a response to a harsh judgement by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights against Russia earlier this year, according to Human Rights Watch.
"It all began after the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay 1.87 billion euros in compensation to shareholders of the oil company Yukos, formerly owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a fierce government critic who was once Russia's wealthiest man," the agency said in its report.
The bill was adopted by the Russian parliament on the same day as the ECHR found Russia guilty of violating privacy rights by secretly intercepting mobile phone communications.