North indigenous peoples may transfer deer stalking quotas to community hunters – court
ST. PETERSBURG, May 28 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) - The Russian Constitutional Court held on Tuesday that indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North may transfer their deer stalking quotas to hunters from their communities, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The court considered a complaint by ethnic dolgan Gennady Shchukin, who had challenged ban on the quotas transfer by disabled representatives of indigenous minorities of the North to their clan members. In his complaint, he asked the Constitutional Court to check certain provisions of the federal law on hunting and preservation of hunting resources.
Shchukin is a clan chairman and president of the local Public association of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North in the Krasnoyarsk Krai’s Taymyr Dolgano-Nenets district.
In September 2014, he offered clan chairs to shoot wild reindeers entrusting huntsmen with deerhunting in the amount meant for all members of the community taking into consideration that the quota is 8 deers per person. According to case papers, hunters killed 217 species, and devolution of the hunting common limits stirred up law enforcement discontent.
The applicant and other shooting participants were found guilty of illegal hunting committed by an organized group in conspiracy and were fined. Shchukin received a 120,000-ruble fine (about $2,000). However, all of them were released from punishment due to an amnesty.
Shchukin turned to the Constitutional Court. He claimed that current legislation strips those dolgans, who do not have a hunting permit or ability to hunt by themselves for health reasons, as well as children and elderly persons of the right to deer stalking quotas.
The Constitutional Court therefore held that Russia’s Indigenous Minorities have a right to the priority use of wildlife resources on the territory which is their traditional place of inhabitance and economic activity. According to the Russian Indigenous Peoples Rights Law, exclusive rights to use fauna are granted to all representatives of indigenous minorities but not only to those who have the status of hunter, the court stated.
Thus, the Constitutional Court noted that communities may delegate hunting to one or several members having the hunter status within the set limit.
According to the applicant’s lawyer Vladimir Tsvil, the effective sentence against Shchukin is to be reconsidered.