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The VI St. Petersburg International Legal Forum that took place on May 18-21, 2016 in the State Hermitage General Staff Building gathered 3750 participants coming from 77 states including Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Canada, Singapore, the United States, Ukraine, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Japan. Seventy-one foreign delegations visited the Forum this year. Eight ministers of justice and twelve deputy ministers were present as honorary guests. There arrived high officials from various international organizations such as the World International Property Organization (WIPO), the Council of Europe Venice Commission, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice. Foreign constitutional and supreme courts were represented by thirty-four delegations; twenty-three of them were headed by the chairmen or their deputies. In the course of the Forum business program over five hundred prominent scholars and practitioners in different fields of law voiced their views, 60% of participants were from the Russian Federation and 40% were foreign guests. The business program comprised over 70 events including conferences, presentations, lectures and discussions in seven thematic sections on private law; industry, trade and competitiveness; courts and arbitration tribunals' jurisprudence; smart society; investments and finance; international law, security and the rule of law; legal profession.

The "Kutafin University Law Review" enjoyed the prestigious status of an information partner of the Forum, and its representatives followed the insightful discussions on most pressing issues in the fields of law, politics, and economics.

On May 18, 2016 the Lecture Hall of the General Staff Building became a forum for a discussion on "The Rule of Law Concept in Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)". It was moderated by Alexander Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.

The participants of the Forum included Aisha Aitkalieva, Acting Director of the International Law and Cooperation of the Ministry of Justice from the Republic of Kazakhstan, Sergey Bakhin, the International Law Chair of the Law Faculty of the Saint Petersburg State University, Rao Venkata, Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty of the National Law School of the University of India, Daniil Vinnitsky, Director of the Eurasian Scientific Research Center of Comparative and International Law of Finance of the Urals State Law University, Alvina Gyulumyan, Judge of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia, Liu Zhiqiang, Deputy Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China, Mahmoud Abbasi, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Human Rights and International Affairs, Maripa Seydalieva, Director of the Notary and Legal Department of the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic. Oleg Slizhevsky, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the state that has recently obtained an observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Mr. Liu Zhiqiang told the audience about the changes that had taken place in the Chinese legislation since 2001 when Russia and China signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation, and the prospects for implementing "The New Silk Road of the XXI Century", the project initiated by China in 2013. He referred to it as "an economic belt uniting SCO member states". The Chinese Minister of Justice expressed his eagerness to contribute to strengthening cooperation between members and observer states in the SCO and suggests the Cooperation Committee be created so that "The New Silk Road" project would be implemented more efficiently.

Several participants pointed out to the need for establishing a body capable of resolving disputes among its members within the SCO framework. Professor Bakhin believes a permanent judicial body is needed; it will contribute to further integration. Mr. Mahmoud Abbasi also thinks it necessary to set up an international arbitration court in the SCO. In his opinion, the activities of a body empowered to settle economic disputes between states will help to implement the 'New Silk Road' initiative and other economic projects of the member states. He expressed the hope that the conference participants will support this proposition in their respective countries.

Concluding the discussion, Mr. Alexander Konovalov emphasized that legal systems of the SCO member states differ greatly. The primary goal would be to single out the differences in material and procedural law and to undertake an effort to harmonize the legislation. He stated that a new concept of the integration cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is needed and showed his support for the idea of establishing a SCO Commercial Court.

A lively discussion on the "Unilateral Sanctions Extraterritoriality and Scenarios of Targeted States' Counteraction" was held on May 19, 2016. Kristofor Ivanyan, Partner at "Ivanyan and Partners" acted as a moderator. The participants addressed the pressing issue of the sanctions introduced by the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union in respect of the Russian Federation. A number of leading representatives of legal profession from Russia and abroad participated in the discussion, including Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Sergey Belov, Associate Professor of the State and Administrative Law Chair of the Saint Petersburg State University, Stephen McHale, Partner at "Squire Patton Boggs", Charles Claypoole, Partner at "Latham and Watkins", Jean-Marc Thouvenin, Director of the International Law Center at Paris West University Nanterre La Defense and Partner at "Sygna Partners", Alireza Jamshidi, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sergey Usoskin, Senoir Public International Law Consultant at the "Foundation for the Support of Legal Research and Legal Education", Devika Hovell, Associate Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. The experts were set to determine possible tools that a targeted state can use to counter sanctions imposed against it. Those measures can include blocking legislation, trade embargos, refusal to render voluntary assistance and the use of alternative currencies in international trade as a long-term strategy.

On May 20, 2016 the Open Discussion Hall became the place for heated discussions on "Legal Peculiarities of Ensuring an Anti-Doping Policy Including Dispute Resolution". The panel was moderated by Natalia Zhelanova, Counsel of the Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation. She stated that in the Russian Federation there already exists administrative responsibility of coaches and sports doctors for doping, and the work is being carried on to establish criminal responsibility for the use of doping. The panel on the anti-doping policies brought together Liene Kozlovska, Expert of the Council of Europe Sport Conventions Division (Poland), Ruslan Grebnev, Associate Professor of the Department of Judicial Authority, Law Enforcement and Human Rights Activities of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, a number of sports lawyers who specialize in litigation - Michael Prokopets and Yuri Zaitsev, Partners at "Legal Sport", in-house of the Russian Football Union, as well as Elmira Kondratieva, Partner at "Forward Legal" who shared their experiences in defending the rights of Russian athletes in the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and national courts.

The panel "International Commercial Arbitration: Perspective and Reforms" was also held on May 20, 2016. It was moderated by Michael Swainston, Barrister, Brick Court Chambers. The panelists discussed the challenges that arbitration centers face nowadays, especially when they have to compete with the state courts of their location. All major arbitral institutions were represented. The distinguished guests included Vladimir Khvalei, Vice-President of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce, Teresa Cheng, Chairperson of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center, Francis Xavier, member of the Users Council, Singapore International Arbitration Center, Anton Baier, President of the International Arbitral Center at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna, David Steel, Judge at the Dubai International Financial Center Courts, Alexey Kostin, Chairman of the International Commercial Arbitration Court and Maritime Arbitration Commission at the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation, Tarek Riad, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Dubai International Arbitration Center, as well as Eric Tuchmann, General Counsel in the American Arbitration Association, Nikita Sokolov, Lawyer of the Department of Legal Practice in "Rosneft", Stefan Kroll, Director of the Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Honorary Professor in Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. In their discussions the esteemed speakers also touched upon Russia's recent reforms aimed at increasing the range of arbitrable disputes and tried to outline what fruit they would eventually bear.

On the same day a Round Table devoted to the "Development of Legal Regulation of Economic Activities in the Arctic Zone" took place.

The Round Table was remarkable for the participation of Anatoly Kapustin, President of the Russian Association of International Law, Denis Nikishin, Deputy Director of "Rosgeolekspertisa" on legal issues and licensing the subsurface management, Rafael Abramyan, Director of the Department of Interregional and Frontier Cooperation of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, leading lawyers from "PriceWaterCoopers" and other major business firms. The panelists focused on legal, economic and ecological aspects of further development of the Arctic region. Anatoly Kapustin urged to resume the process of elaborating a federal law on the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation guided by Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and to create a partnership between businesses and public authorities. Rafael Abramyan told the audience about the activities of the State Commission for Arctic Development to draft a law on the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation. Forty-six state bodies were involved in its preparation and now the draft is ready to be forwarded to the subjects of the Russian Federation for consideration, he said. The businessmen who were present at the panel put great emphasis on the need to improve investment attractiveness of the Arctic. It can offer investors plenty of possibilities. This region is abundant in mineral resources, and the famous Northern Sea Route can be used more actively to foster navigation at the Arctic latitudes.

Larissa I. Zakharova (a, 1)

(a) Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL), Russia


(1) Author

PhD (Law), A/Professor, Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL), (since 2005)

Chair of International Law, 9 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya str., Moscow, Russia, 123995
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Author:Zakharova, Larissa I.
Publication:Kutafin University Law Review
Date:Oct 1, 2016
Previous Article:The conference held at the MSAL International Law Department on 8 April, 2016.

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