The Constitutional Court recognized the articles of the Criminal Procedure and Criminal Codes (CCP, CC) as inconsistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation and clarified in which cases a criminal case can be terminated due to the expiration of the statute of limitations without the consent of the suspect/accused. After what time it is impossible to prosecute, what are the consequences of terminating the case due to the expiration of the term, and what the Constitutional Court thinks about this, the expert told aif.ru.
What is the statute of limitations for criminal liability?  ;
Statute of limitations — this is a period of time after which a person can no longer be held accountable: neither fined for traffic violations, nor prosecuted for theft. For different types of liability, laws have their own statute of limitations — for criminal prosecution:
- two years — for petty crimes;
- six years — for moderate crimes;
- 10 years — for serious crimes;
- 15 years — for especially serious crimes.
“After this time, a person cannot be convicted of a crime, but
there are acts to which the statute of limitations does not apply. For example, these are crimes related to terrorism, including an attack on officials or persons under international protection, rebellion; crimes related to the conduct of war; ecocide and genocide”, — lawyer Angelina Malysheva explained to aif.ru.In addition, according to the expert, the statute of limitations applies only at the discretion of the court to those who face life imprisonment. If the court finds no grounds to terminate the criminal prosecution, life imprisonment will be replaced by the previous severe punishment.
What is the difference between rehabilitating and non-rehabilitating grounds for exemption from criminal liability?
The Criminal Code contains a list of grounds on which a person can be released from criminal liability — they are divided into rehabilitating and non-rehabilitating, said Malysheva. “The difference between these groups is as follows. If the criminal prosecution is terminated on exonerating grounds, then the person is considered innocent of the crime and can claim compensation for the harm that was caused to him by the state in the process of unjustified prosecution. If a person is released from criminal liability on non-rehabilitating grounds, then the person is not considered acquitted and innocent and is not entitled to any redress from the state, — expert commented.
Malysheva clarified that the exonerating grounds of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation include the absence of an event of a crime, the absence of corpus delicti in an act, the non-involvement of a suspect or accused in the commission of a crime. Non-rehabilitating grounds include:
- termination of a criminal case due to reconciliation of the parties (Art. 76 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, Art. 25 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation);
- Termination of a criminal case in connection with active repentance (Article 75 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, Article 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation).
- termination of a criminal case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution (clause 3, part 1, article 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure);
- termination of a criminal case due to the death of a suspect or accused (clause 4, part 1, article 24 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation);
- termination of a criminal case in connection with the issuance of an amnesty act (Article 84 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation);
- termination of a criminal case due to the adoption of a law eliminating criminality or punishability of an act (Article 10 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation);
- compensation for damage caused by a crime in cases of crimes in the field of economic activity (Art. 76.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, Art. 28.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation) and others.
conditions the investigation can be terminated due to the expiration of the statute of limitations?
Expiration date — does not constitute grounds for any rehabilitation. This means that a person will be released from criminal liability, but he will not be considered innocent. “It is for this reason to terminate the criminal case on such grounds without the consent of the suspect/accused — it is forbidden. If a person is sure of his innocence, his constitutional right to defense must be respected and given the opportunity to prove it. In the absence of consent to the termination of the criminal case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the investigation must continue in the usual manner, », — notes Malysheva. The lawyer added that the law does not establish a maximum period for investigating a case after the suspect/accused refuses to terminate proceedings on non-rehabilitating grounds.
What did the Constitutional Court say about the maximum term for criminal prosecution?
On July 18, 2022, the Constitutional Court gave guidance on how long it is possible to continue investigating a case after the statute of limitations for criminal liability has expired.  ;
The court indicated that the accused must be provided with the opportunity to prove his innocence — for this there is an institution of consent to the application of the statute of limitations and termination of proceedings. But due to the fact that the law does not contain maximum terms for further investigation, a person must make a choice: quickly finish everything, but actually admit guilt, or try to prove his innocence, not realizing how long it will take.
In order to eliminate the gap in the procedural legislation, the Constitutional Court called on the legislature to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation (Article 27) and the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (clause «c» part 1 of Article 78). Before the changes were made, the court decided to continue the investigation of the case after the expiration of the statute of limitations for 12 months — if after a year the case is not taken to court, the criminal case must be terminated without the consent of the suspect/accused. If the latter does not agree with the application of a non-rehabilitating ground, he may appeal the decision in court.
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