Greenpeace Win On Russian Court Case
Justice still on the side of law and nature
*Moscow, 23 January 2004—* Greenpeace in Russia this week won a case in the Supreme Court abolishing part of the Russian Federation Government resolution of September 15, 2003 regarding the Sochi All-Republican State Nature Preserve, which intended to remove protected area status from huge areas of pristine forests.
According to the Russian Federation Resolution, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), an area of 33,222 ha from Sochi National Park (including 11 000 ha of the conservation area, where any economic activities are prohibited) were withdrawn and handed over to the Sochi All-Republican State Nature Zakaznik (Preserve)– a territory, where elite hunting and rest activities for top Russian officials have been carried out for many years.
The resolution didn’t undergo the required state environmental impact assessment and was passed in defiance of many federal laws (the Land Code of the Russian Federation, the Forest Code of the Russian Federation, Federal Law “On special protected nature areas”, Federal Law “On Environmental Protection”, Federal Law “On the environmental impact assessment”).
If the resolution has come into force, unique nature complexes of the West Caucasus could have experienced massive logging in the near future. The conditions for uncontrolled shooting of wild animals could have been created. In the end, the construction of luxury cottages and recreation centers could be easily commissioned in the area.
“To the credit of our justice, this time the Supreme Court and a representative of the General Prosecutor’s Office asserted the letter of the law. These MNR and Government’s actions show their evident eagerness to destroy the unique, more than 80 year old system of Russian reserves and national parks,” – said Mikhail Kreindlin of Greenpeace in Russia, who acted as an independent plaintiff.
So far the system of Russian reserves and national parks is under a real threat of breakdown and complete destruction.
“The position of the MNR and its head Mr. V.Artukhov has once more demonstrated the necessity to create an independent environmental body in charge of state management and control over specially protected nature areas,”– said Ivan Blokov, Greenpeace Russia Campaigns Director.
Greenpeace is campaigning around the world to protect ancient forests. In the lead up to this year’s Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Greenpeace is asking governments to secure the effective management of existing protected areas, place an immediate moratorium on industrial activities in large unprotected areas and invest sufficient funds to do the job.
Just ahead of this meeting, to be held in February in Kuala Lumpur, the Greenpeace Flagship, the Rainbow Warrior is visiting the region to document the problems of illegal logging currently facing the forests of the region.