The Supreme Court (SC) of Russia has expanded the limits of permissible self-defense for citizens in the event of an attack by raiders on their homes.
On Tuesday, May 31, with reference to the results of the plenum of the country’s highest judicial instance, RIA Novosti reports.
The decision of the plenum of the Supreme Court states that a person can resort to self-defense even if the raider who entered his house does not beat the residents and does not threaten violence.
The Russians, according to the decision of the Armed Forces, also have the right to resort to the necessary self-defense in case of a real threat – we are talking about cases when the criminal threatens to use violence, for example, by pointing a weapon at the victim. The Supreme Court recommended that self-defence courts interpret doubts in favor of the accused.
The draft law on amending Article 37 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, giving the right to “protect one’s life by all means, as well as the lives of relatives and friends from any encroachment of persons illegally entering a house or apartment,” last February, State Duma deputies sent to the government and the Armed Forces.
The authors of the bill clarified that outsiders enter the homes of Russians not only for theft: sometimes such penetrations end in murders, rapes or causing grievous harm to the health of the owners. At the same time, according to the current legislation, Russians who protect themselves and their loved ones are limited by the limits of necessary defense, while criminals are not limited by anything.
The use of self-defense in Russia is regulated by Article 37 (“Necessary Defense”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. According to it, if the actions of a defending person do not correspond to the degree of danger, he is subject to criminal liability.
Deliberately exceeding the limits of necessary defense is punishable under Part 1 of Article 108 (“Murder committed when the limits of necessary defense are exceeded”) and Part 1 of Article 114 (“Causing serious or moderate bodily injury when exceeding the limits of necessary defense”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
The maximum punishment for them is two years or a year in prison, respectively. According to the Judicial Department under the Russian Armed Forces, in six months of 2021, 132 people were convicted under Article 108 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and only two were acquitted. Under article 114 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 203 people were convicted, and there were no acquittals at all.
According to retired federal judge Sergei Pashin, the proposal to give the defender the right to use any type of violence in protecting a home from illegal entry carries certain risks.
“’Permissible’ self-defense can lead to the murder of a person who did not intend to commit a crime in someone else’s house or entered there by accident. In addition, it is necessary to accurately determine the boundaries of the dwelling – whether they will include balconies, extensions and vehicles, ”Pashin noted.
At the same time, he stressed, while the judicial practice in such cases is “not on the side of law-abiding citizens who rebuffed the attacker.”