Communist Party MPs have promised to draft a bill to introduce a “court of honor” that would adjudicate on the ethical side of an official’s behavior, and possibly recommend anti-corruption courses as a punishment.
Lawmakers consider it “inadmissible” that Russian civil servants who become involved in public corruption scandals often evade punishment and censure from society. “We consider it necessary to institute the court of honor for officials that would try them for high profile deeds. We want it because, as we see from court practice, civil servants bear no responsibility for unethical deeds,” the head of the Communist Party’s legal department, Vadim Solovyov, said in an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.
The politician added that public scandals should lead at least to a demotion with a decrease in salary, but the country lacked an official board that could make such decisions. Introducing the courts of honor, which would comprise of well-known activists and legal attorneys, could solve the problem.
“All hearings of such courts must be made public through the media and their results must be included in civil servants’ personal files,” Solovyov noted. In extreme cases the court of honor could order an official to attend special courses on professional ethics, he added.
The sponsors of the initiative referred to the Soviet-era experience when courts of honor in the military dealt with disputes that did not break regulations but were bad for morale. A similar institution the “courts of comrades” existed for civilians, but the Communists admit now that these were pretty ineffective.
The Communists’ main competitors in Russian politics - the members of the populist nationalist party LDPR have said they doubt the effectiveness of the proposal. They claimed that the court can quickly fall under the control of senior officials who would then use them for firing the people they personally dislike.
MP Dmitry Gorovtsov of the center-left party Fair Russia said the authorities should first delete all traditional anti-corruption measures, and then accept some exotic suggestions from the Communists. He said the bill on courts of honor was untimely and did not match the economic conditions in the country, and added that the government should instead fully ratify the UN anti-corruption convention and make corresponding changes to the Criminal Code.