Swiss court snubs Russian requests for legal assistance

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A view of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, Switzerland February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Stephanie Ulmer Nebehay

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ZURICH, May 18 (Reuters) - Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court has upheld two appeals by defendants arguing that Russia did not deserve legal assistance in criminal cases given its invasion of Ukraine, the court said on Wednesday.

It cited Russia's violations of the United Nations Charter, its non-compliance with the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances, and its withdrawal from the Council of Europe and from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

The judgements are not final and may be appealed to the Swiss Supreme Court. They concerned cases in which Russia accused the unnamed defendants of illegal exports to Israel via Switzerland of materials that could be used to make weapons.

"The legal requirements and those developed by case law in the area of international mutual legal assistance are no longer present in order to be able to trust - even with diplomatic guarantees - that Russia will comply with international law, in particular with regard to human rights," the court said in a statement.

Swiss federal prosecutors said in March they had suspended requests for legal cooperation from and to Russia. read more

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Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Grant McCool

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