Introduction
Facts
Decision
Comment


Introduction

In a recent judgment,(1) the Supreme Court urged the Ministry of Justice to reconsider satisfying legal assistance requests from Russian authorities, as the Russian Federation is no longer a member of the Council of Europe or the European Convention of Human Rights.

In reaching this conclusion, the Court relied on its recent judgment sitting in plenary session, in which the Court ruled that, as the Russian Federation is no longer a contracting party to the European Convention on Human Rights, extradition requests originating from Russian authorities will no longer be satisfied in Cyprus.(2) On this basis, the Court decided to release a Russian national who had been arrested in 2021 in compliance with an extradition request by the Russian authorities.

Facts

The case concerned a legal assistance request submitted by the Russian authorities, requesting the provision of evidence in relation to a criminal case under investigation.

The Cyprus authorities satisfied the request and secured the requested evidence from certain Cyprus companies. Thereafter, the Cyprus companies sought to restrain the Cyprus authorities from disclosing the obtained evidence to the Russian authorities.

Decision

The Supreme Court upheld the first-instance judgment refusing the requested interim relief, deeming that this was not justified under the circumstances.

However, the Supreme Court went on to bring to the attention of the Ministry of Justice the fact that the Russian Federation is no longer a member of the Council of Europe or the European Convention of Human Rights. In light of this, the Court urged the Ministry to reconsider whether it should satisfy legal assistance requests originating from Russian authorities.

Comment

The Supreme Court appears to be moving away from previous decisions under which extradition and information requests from foreign governments were entertained, taking a more proactive role in ensuring compliance with the relevant European framework.

For further information on this topic please contact Ioanna Michael or Laura Foutti at AG Erotocritou LLC by telephone (+357 25 370 101) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The AG Erotocritou LLC​ website can be accessed at www.erotocritou.com.

Endnotes

(1) Athos Fouttis & Co Ltd and others v Cyprus Police, Civil Appeal No. E170/2020, 23 November 2022.

(2) Regarding the Application for the Extradition of DAA, Civil Appeal No. 214/2021, 8 July 2022.