The admissibility of improperly obtained evidence: The universality of the problem and the diversity of approaches to solving it


The article focuses on the issue of acknowledging inadmissible evidence obtained in violation of the law. According to the authors, this issue can be encountered, in one way or another, in any procedural system (both at the national and international levels). In this regard, the authors substantiate the relevance and ambivalence of the issue for the Russian criminal proceedings. Also, the authors use the scientific works of scholars belonging to the Soviet, early post-Soviet and modern periods of the development of Russian criminal proceedings, as well as materials of judicial practice from various years in order to demonstrate the evolution of approaches to the solution of the topic. In order to demonstrate universality of the issue, the authors analyze, in a comparative legal sense, the approaches of leading foreign procedural systems. It is concluded that there is a tendency that foreign legal systems are searching for the recognition criteria of evidence obtained in violation of the law to achieve a balance between the two areas of criminal procedural policy: ‘due process of law’ and ‘crime control’. Usually, the violation of human rights committed in obtaining evidence per se does not entail the finding of such evidence as unacceptable. The authors focus on the same issue, but in the scope of international criminal justice which combines the approaches of both the investigative (inquisitorial) and the accusatory (adversary) criminal procedure traditions. It is indicated that the bodies of international criminal justice (in particular, the International Criminal Court), when forming their position on the issue under consideration, are guided in many respects by the law enforcement practices of international bodies for the protection of human rights (primarily, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights). The authors conclude that it is possible to use the criteria for the inadmissibility of evidence specified in the Rome Statute and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights for Russian criminal proceedings due to the transitional nature of the criteria.


evidence, criminal proceedings, comparative research, independent source doctrine, inevitable discovery doctrine, inadmissible evidence, due process of law, crime control, inquisitorial tradition, adversary tradition


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Pavel P. Stepanov, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

PhD in Law, Assistant Professor

Gleb E. Besedin, University of Paris, 2 Panthéon-Assas (University of Paris), Paris, 75005, France; Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

LL.M in Law



Baranova, Marina A., Grigorian, Vagan L. 2016. Inadmisdibility of evidences in judicial decisions within criminal cases: search for criteria. Iuridicheskaia nauka i pravookhranitel’naia praktika 1 (35): 122–127. (In Russian)

Behrens, Hans-Jörg. 1999. The Trial Proceedings. The International Criminal Court: the Making of the Rome Statute: Issues, Negotiations and Results, ed. by Roy S. Lee: 238–246. The Hague, London, Boston, Kluwer.

Blanc-Jouvan, Xavier. 2006. Où va le droit comparé? Le droit pénal à l’aube du troisième millénaire. Mélanges offerts à Jean Pradel: 709–724. Paris, Editions Cujas.

Delmas-Marty, Mireille, Lucas de Leyssac, Claude. 1996. Liberties and fundamental rights. Paris, Seuil.

Delmas-Marty, Mireille, Spencer, John R.2002. European Criminal Procedures. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Filimonov, Boris A. 1994. Fundamentals of German Criminal Procedural Law. Moscow, Moscow State University Publ. (In Russian)

Gartung, Nicolai. 1868. The history of criminal proceedings and judicial systems of France, England, Germany and Russia. St. Petersburg, Tip. E. Arngol’da Publ. (In Russian)

Golovko, Leonid V. (ed.). 2016. Treatise on Criminal Procedure. Moscow, Statut Publ. (In Russian)

Golovko, Leonid V. 2009. Materials for the construction of comparative criminal procedure law: sources, evidence, pre-trial proceedings. Trudy iuridicheskogo fakul’teta MGU im. M.V.Lomonosova 11: 227–360. Moscow, Pravovedenie Publ. (In Russian)

Golovko, Leonid V. 2013. Constitutionalization of the Russian criminal process: between slogans and reality. Gosudarstvo i pravo 12: 83–94. (In Russian)

Golovko, Leonid V. 2013. Frame of criminal law: from formal to functional approach. Biblioteka kriminalista. Nauchnyi zhurnal 2 (7): 77–90. (In Russian)

Gutsenko, Konstantin F., Golovko, Leonid V., Filimonov, Boris A. 2001. Criminal Proceedings of the Western countries. Moscow, Zertsalo-M Publ. (In Russian)

Iakub, Michael L. 1974. The problem of evaluation of evidence in the Soviet criminal process. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Ser. Pravo 6: 12–21. (In Russian)

Kalinovskii, Konstantin B. 1998. The materiality of the criminal procedural irregularities in the collection of evidence. Zakonnost’, operativno-rozysknaia deiatel’nost’ i ugolovnyi protsess: materialy mezhdunarodnoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii. Sankt-Peterburg, 9–10 aprelia 1998 goda. Part 2, ed. by Latyshev, Oleg M.and Sal’nikov, Victor P.: 11–14. St. Petersburg, Sankt-Peterburgskaia akademiia MVD Rossii Publ. (In Russian)

Kipnis, Nicolai M. 1995. Admissibility of the evidence in the criminal proceedings. Moscow, Iurist Publ. (In Russian)

Klamberg, Mark. 2013. Evidence in International Criminal Trials. Confronting Legal Gaps and the Reconsruction of Disputed Events. Leiden, Boston, Brill Nijhoff.

Koering-Joulin, Renée, Seuvic, Jean-François. 1998. Droits fondamentaux et droit criminel. L’Actualité juridique. Droit administratif (20 July — 20 August 1998): 106–129.

Lenin, Vladimir I. 1970. About “double” subordination and legality. Lenin, Vladimir I. Complete works 45: 197–201. Moscow, Politicheskaia literatura Publ. (In Russian)

Magendie, Jean-Claude. 2018. International justice: an instrument of cooperation or an instrument of integration? Sud i gosudarstvo, eds Golovko, Leonid V., Mat’e, Bertrand: 106–111. Moscow, Statut Publ. (In Russian).

May, Richard, Powles, Steven. 2004. Criminal Evidence. London, Sweet & Maxwell.

May, Richard, Wierda, Marieke. 2002. International criminal evidence. Ardsley, Transnational Publ.

Motovilovker, Iakov O. 1986. Some aspects of the question of the admissibility (impermissibility) of evidence sources in Soviet criminal proceedings. Dokazyvanie po ugolovnym delam. Mezhvuzovskii sbornik: 55–57. Krasnoyarsk, University of Krasnoyarsk Publ. (In Russian)

Mukhin, Iosif I. 1971. An Objective Truth and some issues of assessment of evidence in justice administration process. Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo Leningradskogo universiteta Publ. (In Russian)

Mundis, Daryl A. 2001. From “Common Law” Towards “Civil Law”: The Evolution of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Leiden Journal of International Law 14: 367–382.

Packer, Herbert L. 1964. Two Models of the Criminal Process. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 113 (1): 1–68.

Pechegin, Denis A. 2016. Combination of adversarial and investigative principles in proceedings before the International Criminal Court. PhD Thesis in Law. Moscow State University. (In Russian)

Piquerez, Gérard, Macaluso, Alain. 2011. Traité de procédure pénale suisse. Zürich, Buch Publ.

Reznik, Genri M. 1977. Inner conviction in evaluation of the evidences. Moscow, Iuridicheskaia literatura Publ. (In Russian)

Safferling, Cristoph J.M. 2001. Towards an International Criminal Procedure. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Savitskii, Valeriy M. 1994. Russia’s criminal process on a new stage of democratization. Gosudarstvo i pravo 6: 96–107. (In Russian)

Savitskii, Valeriy M. 1995. Guilty or not guilty before a jury trial? Moscow, Serial Publ. (In Russian)

Scheffer, David. 1999. The United States and the International Criminal Court. American Journal of International Law 93: 12–22.

Shreder, Friedrich-Christian, Ferrel, Torsten. 2016. German Criminal Procedural Law. Rus. ed. Moscow, Infotropic Publ. (In Russian)

Spencer, Maureen, Spencer, John. 2005. Evidence. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Strogovich, Michael S. 1968. Treatise on the Soviet criminal proceedings, in 2 vols. Vol. 1: The main provisions of the Soviet criminal proceedings science. Moscow, Nauka Publ. (In Russian)

Tochilovsky, Vladimir. 2008. Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Courts and the European Court of Human Rights, Procedure and evidence. Leiden, Brill Nijhoff.

Triffterer, Otto. (ed.). 1999. Commentary on the Rome Statute of the ICC: Observers’ Notes, Article by Article. Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.

Tulkens, Françoise. 2011. The Paradoxical Relationship between Criminal Law and Human Rights. Journal of International Criminal Justice 9: 577–595.

Viebig, Petra. 2016. Illicitly Obtained Evidence at the International Criminal Court. International Criminal Justice Series. The Hague, Asser Press.

Viktorskii, Sergeï I. 1912. Russian Criminal Procedure. Moscow, Izd. A. A. Kartseva Publ. (In Russian)

Werle, Gerhard. 2012. International criminal law. Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck.

Zappalà, Salvatore. 2003. Human rights in international criminal proceedings. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Zazhitskii, Valeriy I. 1992. Law of evidence issues. Sovetskaia iustitsiia 19–20: 3–4. (In Russian)

Zhogin, Nicolai V. (ed.). 1966. Theory of evidence in the Soviet criminal proceedings. General Section. Moscow, Iuridicheskaia literatura Publ. (In Russian)

How to Cite
Stepanov, P. P., & Besedin, G. E. (2019). The admissibility of improperly obtained evidence: The universality of the problem and the diversity of approaches to solving it. Pravovedenie, 63(3), 460-480.