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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 190th session
(Kampala, 5 April 2012)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Ms. Galina Starovoitova, a member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, who was assassinated on 20 November 1998, and to the resolution adopted at its 189th session (October 2011),

Taking into account the information that Mr. Sergey A. Gavrilov, a member of the Russian delegation, provided to the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians at the hearing held during the 126th IPU Assembly (April 2012),

Recalling the following information on file, as provided over the years, most recently on 9 October 2009, chiefly by the State Duma, regarding the investigation and judicial proceedings:

  • In June 2005, two men, Mr. Akishin and Mr. Kolchin, were found guilty of Ms. Starovoitova’s murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison by the St. Petersburg City Court, which, in its judgment, concluded that the murder had been politically motivated; in September 2007, two others were found guilty of complicity in the murder and sentenced to 11 and 2 years in prison respectively; four other suspects were acquitted and released; there are open national and international arrest warrants for three other individuals,
Recalling that Ms. Starovoitova was a prominent Russian human rights advocate and had denounced instances of high-profile corruption shortly before her assassination; recalling also that, in November 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed "its concern at the alarming incidence of threats, violent assaults and murders of journalists and human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, which has created a climate of fear and a chilling effect on the media ...", and urged the Russian Federation "to take immediate action to provide effective protection and ensure the prompt, effective, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation of threats, violent assaults and murders and, where appropriate, prosecute and initiate proceedings against the perpetrators of such acts"; recalling further that many States made similar recommendations during the Universal Periodic Review of the Russian Federation’s compliance with its human rights obligations before the United Nations Human Rights Council (February 2009),

Recalling that elections for the State Duma took place in December 2011,

Considering the following information provided by a member of the Russian delegation during the 126th IPU Assembly:

  • It has been very difficult to identify the masterminds behind Ms. Starovoitova’s murder, which has to be seen in the context of her political activism; after it became possible, as of 2006, to reduce sentences in return for the convict’s cooperation in providing essential information about unresolved crimes, Mr. Kolchin cooperated to help advance the investigation, which was recently resumed, into Ms. Starovoitova’s murder; as a result, the authorities were able to identify Mr. Mikhael Glushchenko, a former member of parliament and a businessman involved in large-scale criminal activities, as the presumed mastermind; Mr. Glushchenko is now a formal suspect in the investigation into Ms. Starovoitova’s murder and was recently found guilty of extortion and sentenced to a long term in prison, which he is currently serving; 

  • The State Duma is fully committed to shedding light on and establishing accountability for Ms. Starovoitova’s murder and has recently set up an anti-corruption and security committee that is monitoring the case and enquiring of the Prosecutor General’s Office about further developments; it should be possible to communicate further information on the investigation and proceedings to the IPU in the coming months,
  1. Thanks the member of the Russian delegation for the valuable information and cooperation he provided;

  2. Is pleased that the pursuit of justice in this case appears to be finally making progress towards identifying the mastermind(s) behind Ms. Starovoitova’s murder; is also pleased that the current State Duma is taking an active interest in the case; is convinced that this show of interest in the case of a former colleague killed for having exercised her right to freedom of speech is critical to helping ensure that full justice is rendered;

  3. Looks forward to receiving information about further developments in the investigation, the start of trial proceedings and the continued monitoring of the case by the State Duma, in particular its specialized committee; is particularly interested to know if the results obtained thus far in the investigation show whether Mr. Glushchenko masterminded the crime on his own or with the help of accomplices;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to bring this resolution to the attention of the parliamentary authorities and to the source;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report to it at its next session, to be held during the 127th IPU Assembly (October 2012).
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