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State Duma proposes waiving punishment for crimes committed ‘in Russia’s interests’ on occupied Ukrainian territory

In a December 13 meeting, State Duma deputies approved a draft law in a first reading. The proposed legislation would remove criminal liability for crimes on the occupied territories of Ukraine if they were committed to “defend the interests” of Russia. The publication Advokatskaya Ulitsa called attention to the law.

The bill refers to crimes committed on the territories of the self-proclaimed “LNR” and “DNR,” and in the occupied parts of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, before September 30 — the date the Kremlin formally annexed the Ukrainian territories.

That date, however, is mentioned in only one part of the bill, so, when read literally, the draft law does not establish time limits for waiving criminal prosecution, Advokatskaya Ulitsa notes.

Lawyer Mikhail Benyash calls the law “absolutely terrible,” and says “It will end up that a court can release someone from criminal liability for absolutely any crime. Simply because it considers the action to be aimed at ‘protecting the interests of the Russian Federation.’”

The draft law contains does not specify what, exactly, the “interests of the Russian Federation” means.

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