Human rights in Ukraine 2009 – 2010. 10. Freedom of associations
There were no major changes in the situation with freedom of association.
The freedom of associations has been seriously violated over the last year. The state’s unwarranted interference into the freedom of associations for political reasons, and, especially, as means of neutralizing an oppositional political party, causes major concerns. In particular, the Ministry of Justice and the courts repeatedly meddled with NGO’s operations over 2010.
Current legislation on associations, passed in the main at the beginning of the 1990s, has long failed to meet modern conditions, the needs of civic society as well as international standards, in particular, Article 11 of the European Convention on Hunan Rights.
During 2010 the administrative practices with regard to freedom of associations has also deteriorated. Specifically, an unmistakable tendency of increasing the number of NGO’s inspections, carried out by the Ministry of Justice and its departments has been observed; the pressure imposed on NGO’s leaders and activists by Security Service of Ukraine, militia and educational establishments ‘ principles increased as well 2. This pressure, in particular, was exerted in the course of regular informal talks, which often contained threats related to the public activity of NGO members. Sometimes Security Service or militia staff tried to get activists to sign a document warning them about criminal liability for blocking power bodies’ operation, transport communications or for the organization of mass rallies or other unspecified “illegal activity”, although the activists organized nothing but peaceful assembly’s.
The practice of informal meetings between Security Service or militia staff with the activists is not new – it dates back to the soviet times. Usually discussions were held between leaders or activists of the numerous non-governmental, charity or religious organizations. Earlier at these meetings the activists were asked to provide information on the operation of their respective organizations, but the threats or hints on undesirability of certain mass events were used very seldom. Over the last year the Security Service operation, aimed at preventing mass events or public campaigns, has become regular: relevant information was gathered from different oblast’s of the country; all the sources referred to the similar mode of contact, questions asked and, summarily, the essence of the meeting. AT the beginning the Security Service staff officially denied this information, but later, answering specific questions, they stated that acted on “the basis and by means stipulated by the Constitution and current legislation”. 3
During these two years, Ukraine has failed to do anything for fulfillment of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Koretskyy and Others v. Ukraine4, in which it found that Ukraine had violated the applicants’ right of association. The Court found that Ukraine’s law on citizens’ associations did not meet the quality requirements demanded by the European Convention on Human Rights, and that certain restrictions were not necessary in a democratic society.
The following provisions and administrative practice, for example, unwarrantedly restrict freedom of association:.
- Restrictions regarding the aim in creating an association;
- Restrictions on possible legal forms of association and legally stipulated in advance means of management and structure of the association though the implementation of the mandatory principle of «democratic management»;
- Restrictions on many forms of associations’ activities;
- Restrictions on the territorial activities of associations (territorial status of an association);
- Discriminatory and excessively complicated procedure for registration of associations;
- Abstract assessment of compliance with the law and the Charter of organization and the refusal to register even if no significant match, no comparison of actual statutes and real activity of the organization with aim to check the violation of restrictions for denial of registration;
- Restrictions on membership and taking on volunteers due to a broad interpretation of the mandatory principle of equality of all members of the association;
- Restrictions on business activity and on using the profits received for the activity of the association as per articles of association.
Over the recent years the Ministry of Justice has been devising the draft law “On Civic Organizations” to replace the current law On Civic Organisations. Submitted in the fall of 2008, the draft law was never considered by the majority over the year 2009. In 2010 the new government revoked it for amending alongside with all the other former government initiatives.
The Ministry of Justice amended the draft and offered it for public discussion.5 After that further amendments were made, so that the draft was undergoing infinite changes. The final version anyway never made it o to the parliament.
Nevertheless, on October 18, 2010 the people’s deputies from “Our Ukraine – Public self-defence” block V.Moysyk, V.Karpuk and O.Humenyuk filed a draft law “On Civic Organizations” (№ 7262)6, numerous provisions of which contravene the European standards for the freedom of associations. In particular, it banns the setting up of public organizations by foreigners or stateless persons, retains the territorial restrictions in NGO’s operation, fails to address the issue of double registration. Among its positive contributions one can quote the cancellation of restrictions preventing legal entities from setting up an organization and established procedure for terminating organizations legalized by notification.7
On November 1, 2010 an alternative draft law “On Civic Organizations” (№ 7262-1)8, submitted by people’s deputies Yu. Miroshnichenko, A.Pincjuk, S.Podhorny, A.Shevchenko, Yu. Lytvyn and L. Orobets, representing various factions, was submitted. The coalition of non-governmental organizations and experts also participated in its devising. It addresses the main aspects of legal regulation in public organizations’ setting up and operation: bans the territorial and operational restrictions, removes discriminatory registration procedure, resolves the issue of founding entities, permits the setting up of public organizations’ territorial branches etc. It also contains the proposals of cancelling liability for non-registered organizations’ operation (article 186-5, Administrative Code of Ukraine) and regular and ad hoc inspections of the NGO’s with regard to their internal operation conformity with the law.
2. Formation of associations
One of the most serious problems remains the considerable obstacles which the State puts in the way of those creating associations. These obstacles are to a large degree artificial, being the result of numerous clashes in legislation and do not comply with European human rights standards.
The bodies which register organizations (the Ministry of Justice, its local departments and bodies of local self-government) systematically interfere in the internal management of organizations during registration.
Legislation is not sufficiently clear in defining either the degree to which failure of the charter to comply with legislation is admissible, or clear grounds for refusing to legalize the organization. This gives huge scope for manipulation by the authorities which many of them use. We should add that discrepancies in the articles of association have no relation to the real activities of the organizations involved, and the checking of the articles is therefore of a purely formal nature/ It is not corresponded to the European standarts.
Perhaps the greatest problem for human rights organizations remains the constitutional provision that a civic organization may only be involved in defending the rights of its own members. This provision is reflected in the Law on Citizens’ Association and leads to considerable restrictions on their activities. It effectively prohibits organizations formed for the benefit of the public since charities are not entitled to engage in human rights protection at all. This is one of the most common grounds for refusing to register an organization. It should be noted that on the grounds on provisions in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Ministry of Justice has removed these restrictions in its draft law on civic organizations.
The discriminatory registration procedure remains a serious obstacle for the public organizations. There are two ways to legalize a new body – through notification and through registration. In the first scenario a civic organization does not acquire the status of legal entity, cannot open its own bank account, the rights and operational capacity of such an organization are very limited. In the second scenario a civic organization has to be legalized (by the Ministry of Justice/its departments or by executive committees of village, settlement or city councils) first, and then to be registered as a legal entity with the state registrars. The list of required documents is rather long: two copies of the statute (by-laws); protocol of the constituent convention (conference) or general meeting, at which the statute (by-laws) was adopted; data on the higher management of the central statutory bodies ( first and last name, date of birth, domicile, occupation (job), place of work); receipt confirming the payment of registration fee; information on founders of the organization or association of citizens; document certifying the address – location of the organization ( or a guarantee letter from the owner, or info on all the family members and written consent from the adult members), the registration card of a legal entity. If the organization has an all-Ukrainian status, the list of documents becomes even longer – the additional papers on local branches and meetings (conference) protocols from all the branches are required (in the majority of Ukrainian oblast’s). As a result the number of papers is doubled. Meanwhile, the registration of other legal entities envisages only the registration card, the statute, founding decision and a receipt for payment of the registration fee.
There are still considerable restrictions on types of activities which associations can engage in. Areas of activity, such as publishing, expert assessments and many others, not clearly permitted by laws, are not available to associations. This restriction has been found by the European Court of Human Rights to not comply with Article 11 of the European Convention9.
Another problem is the maintenance of an association’s territorial status with this limiting the association’s activities exclusively to the place where it is registered – a village, city, district of a city, district of a region, etc. There are no such restrictions on profit-making organizations this being yet more evidence of discrimination of restricting legislation against associations. This restriction was also found to violate Article 11 of the European Convention by the Court in Strasbourg10.
The Unified Registry of citizens’ formations was finally introduced in 2009.
The Ministry of Justice legalized 246 civic organizations in 2009, 130 – in 6 months of 2010 (237 - in 2008, 277 - in 2007 ), and also registered ( took notice of ) changes and amendments introduced to statutory documents of 275 civic organizations (in 6 months of 2010 – 155, in 2008 – 322, 2007 – 336), registered logos for 43 citizens’ formations (in 6 months of 2010 – 27, in 2008 – 28, 2007 – 37), 42 charities ( 25 in 6 months of 2010, 52 – in 2008, 82 – in 2007), 12 political parties (11 - in 6 months of 2010, 20 – in 2008, 4 – in 2007).
The territorial departments of justice legalized about 3 thousand local associations in 2009, (respectively over 2.5 thousand in 2008 and about 2.5 thousand in 2007), about 1.4 thousand local branches of all-Ukrainian and international NGO’s ( in 2008 – over one thousand., in 2007 – over 900), registered over 650 local charities (in 2008 – over 700), about 4 thousand (in 2008 – about 5 thousand, in 2007 – about 2.3 thousand) structural subdivisions of political parties and legalized by written notification over 18 thousand (in 2008 – 13 thousand, in 2007 – over 4.5 thousand) of primary political parties’ cells.
In total the justice departments’ legalized/registered about 4 thousand public formations in 2009. 81.5 % of those are made up by local, all-Ukrainian and international public organizations, 0.3 % - by political parties, 17.7 % - by local, all-Ukrainian and international charities.11
The State Statistics Committee information concerning the number of legal entities, taken from Unified State Registry of companies, organizations and institutions differs substantially from that provided by the Ministry of Justice. Thus, as of January 1, 2010 the Registry contained 17 375 (16 719 – in 2009) parties and their branches; 63 899 (59 321 in 2009 ) public organizations, 22 343 ( – 21 425 - in 2009) religious organizations, 12 267 (11 660 -in 2009) charity organizations and 24 649 trade unions and their associations.12
In 6 months of 2010 the Ministry of Justice refused to register 104 civic organizations (79-in 2009), rejected the statutory changes of 51 civic organizations. (62 - in 2009).
Chief justice departments in 2009 denied legalization to over 800 public organizations. ( in 2008 – 800). Territorial justice departments refused the founders of over 400 public formations (in 2008 – 400). The largest number of rejections in 2009, as well as in 2008, was registered in the chief departments of Kyiv, Cherkassy, Odessa, Lviv and Dnipropetrovs’k oblast’s, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and also the territorial justice departments in Dnipropetrovs’k, Mykolaiv, Rivne, Odessa and Kyiv oblast’s. We assume, however, that the real number of refusals is even higher, due to a very popular administrative practice of making the petitioners take back their documents “for amendments” or “for revision”. For example, the Ministry of Justice only returned “for revision” 220 statutory and constituent documents in 2009 (38 - in 6 months of 2010). This procedure, however, is not defined by any law and contrary to the law On Civic Organisations, as it represents a hidden refusal to register.
The official information on the refusal grounds is not available.
Here is an incomplete list of political parties and all-Ukrainian and international civic associations, denied the registration by the Ministry of Justice in 2009:
International NGO “International Committee on Supporting the Struggle against Shadow Economy”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Blahodar".
All-Ukrainian NGO "Civic platform of Ukraine”
International association of public organizations “Academician M.Yu. Mianie system”.
All-Ukrainian environmental NGO “Green trident”.
Political party “Economic Renaissance of Ukraine”.
Political party "Our own strength”
Political party “Joint force”
Political party "Righteousness”
Political party "XXI century".
Internet party of Ukraine
Political party "Social-monarchist party".
All-Ukrainian youth NGO “Association of youth media of Ukraine”.
All-Ukrainian NGO “National Committee of workers’ movement in Ukraine”.
International NGO “International Committee on fighting corruption and shadow economy”.
All-Ukrainian NGO" Academy of Ukrainian Cossacks’ cultural heritage”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Voters’ Union of Ukraine”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Ukrainian Para-Olympic Federation for alpine skiing”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Reliability”.
All-Ukrainian NGO “National Committee of workers’ movement in Ukraine”.
International NGO “Life International”. .
Political party " Righteousness”
Political party "Strong Ukraine”
All-Ukrainian NGO "Cynologists’ Alliance of Ukraine”
All-Ukrainian NGO "National Bureau of Journalists’ Investigations”.
All-Ukrainian NGOВ "National Congress of Journalists”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "National Union of Journalists of Ukraine”
All-Ukrainian NGO "National Association of mass media".
All-Ukrainian NGO "National Association of Public Organizations”
All-Ukrainian NGO "National Investigations Bureau".
All-Ukrainian NGO " National Association of Public Organizations of Ukrainian Citizens”
All-Ukrainian NGO "Anticorruption Committee".
All-Ukrainian NGO "Public Control in Ukraine”.
Civic organization “Ukrainian Association of Literature Institute alumni”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Christian Orthodox Cossacks Army”.
All-Ukrainian NGO "Cinema".
NGO "Ukrainian Association of Systemic Distributions”.
All-Ukrainian NGO " Mutual help”
All-Ukrainian NGO "The Union of Tax-Payers of Ukraine”.
International NGO "Art-pole agency".
All-Ukrainian NGO "National association of Ukrainian enterprises”.
Political party " For Justice”.
All-Ukrainian youth NGO "Youth movement for healthy Ukraine".
All-Ukrainian NGO "Committee against corruption and organized crime”.
Political party "Sir Henry".
Working pensioners’ party of Ukraine.
Grounds for refusal can be most diverse; the bodies in charge of legalization can find “contradictions” at their own discretion. The refusal letters, for instance, contain no information on what statutory provisions contradict specific articles of specific laws. Therefore, the general formulas “the statute of a charitable organization is not in line with part 4, article 12 of the law “On Charity and Charitable Organizations” [the statute (by-laws) should not contradict the Ukrainian legislation] , or “ the statute of the civic organization is contrary to the provisions of part 4, article 13 of the Law “On Civic Organisations” [the statutory document of a civic organization shall not contradict the Ukrainian legislation], do not provide any clue as to what specifically is against the law; so, even in cases when the organizations submit the documents for the second time, they can expect rejection.
The legalization bodies demand that the territorial status and the name of respective settlement be included into the name of the organization. As a result, the state registrars refuse to recognize the organization as legal entity after legalization, as their requirements towards the legal entities’ name are totally different. The name is decided upon by the general meeting or other highest body of authority in the public organizations or charities; consequently, the legalization bodies’ demands are nothing but interference into the internal affairs of the organizations. The refusal grounds and interpretation of the law is arbitrary and differs from oblast’ to oblast’ and from one legalization body to another.
Thus, Novomoskovsk city/raion department of justice in its refusal (№01/3-508, issued on August 06, 2010) to register Novomoskovsk children’s charity foundation “Starry family” noted that “the organization name bears no information as to the oblast’ of its operation”. So, the foundation mentioned raion and territorial status in its name, but the legalization body still assumes that oblast’ should be mentioned as well. Dzhankoy city council, in its turn, refused to legalization Dzhankoy city NGO “Committee against corruption and moral turpitude” on the basis that its name does not meet legal requirements, i.e. that name should not refer to the status or the name of a settlement.
The following example of unlawful refusal to register a civic organization is most typical. Hostomel settlement (Kyiv oblast’) council refused to register an NGO “Civic organization of Hostomel residents “Self-governance”. Specifically, in their letter No 1052 of June 27, 2007 the authorities informed the founders that their registration petition would be considered on July 13, 2007 and once again demanded that the [organization’s] “statute be harmonized with the current legislation of Ukraine, as presently pp. 2.1.3, 2.1.11, 2.1.12, 2.1.13, 2.2.3 and 2.3.9 of the Statute contradict article 20 of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Organisations”. By council decision № 144 of July 13, 2007 the NGO was refused registration on the grounds of discrepancy between its Statute and article 20 of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Organisations”. The founders appealed the decision and it was revoked by the Resolution of Irpin’(Kyiv oblast’) town court of December, 20, 2007. The council filed appeal with the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeals. By its decision of February, 17, 2009 this latter confirmed the ruling of the trial court on illegality of refusal. The decision, in particular, read that “refusing to register the civic organization of Hostomel residents, , respondent violated provisions of article 16, Law № 2460, by his failure to provide the grounds for such refusal”. In other words, the court ruled that simple reference to the articles of law is not enough – specific clarification of what provisions and why are not in conformity with the law are mandatory. However, the practice, described above, is widely spread, i.e. a legalization body refuses the registration on the grounds of discrepancy with certain laws, without specifying the real reason. On September 29, 2009 the Highest Administrative Court left both decisions unchanged and turned down the cassation appeal of the territorial council. This case demonstrates that even with all documentation in order, the organization spent two years and four months trying to be duly registered.
Evidently, few organizations would be willing to spend so much time in defending their right to freedom of association – people are willing to start practical operation in accordance with the goals set by the organization. That’s why they would rather comply with all the whims of a legalization body, even the totally unlawful ones.
The Circuit administrative court of Kyiv on July 28, 2010 classified as illegal the refusal of Chief Department of Justice (Kyiv) to register civic organization “Energy of the Future”. In its ruling court provided well-grounded characteristics of the mistakes made by the department in its legal opinion and of unreasonable demands in registration procedure.
The Circuit administrative court of Kyiv on February, 14, 200913 revoked the Chief Department of Justice decision № 374/02 of April 6, 2009 “On refusal to register “Falung Dafa (Falun Gong) Association” and ordered to reconsider the submitted documents. It is noteworthy that the organization founders submitted the registration documents as early as September 8, 2008; so, the refusal was issued 7 months later, which in itself is a gross violation of the law, specifying time limits for the consideration of documents. The department claimed that the NGO in question is a religious organization and should be registered according to the Law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations. The NGO founders responded that their organization has no religious affiliation, and its program is aimed at the improvement of personal psycho-physical characteristics, i.e. at promoting better health with the help of physical exercise. Interestingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that “ the organization’s activity can be classified as anti-Chinese in its essence, therefore, damaging to good relations between Ukraine and PRC and creating difficulties for the operation of Ukrainian Embassy in China”. The expert conclusion offered by the State Committee of Ukraine on Nationalities and Religions maintained that “Falung Dafa” was a religious trend. The court ruling read:
„The court also contends that the Respondent’s opinion that “Falung Dafa Association” is a religious trend is unmotivated and did not find its legal justification in the decision under consideration in this administrative trial. The motives, on which the Respondent decided that “Falung Dafa Association” is a religious trend, are not shown in the appeal”.
On October 12, 2010 The Administrative Court of Appeals (Kyiv)14 confirmed its ruling of December 14, 2009 on illegality of Chief Department of Justice actions, i.e. refusal of the latter to register the NGO “Falung Dafa Association”. Actually, since 2006, this organization has been refused registration repeatedly.
The Administrative Court of Appeals (Kyiv) on June 10, 2010 dismissed the appeal against the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv ruling of April 23, 2009 року, which classified the Ministry of Justice refusal to register political party “Socialist Party of the Regions” as unlawful. The Ministry of Justice “did not find the name “Socialist Party of the Regions” significantly different from the names of other registered parties, i.e. “Party of the Regions” and “Socialist Party of Ukraine”, and recognized in it the danger of violating voters’ rights”. The court considered two linguists’ expert opinions presenting two opposing views, expressed by Doctor of Philology professor S. Yermolenko and by Doctor of Philology I.Synytsya. Specifically, the first opinion contended that “the name of “Socialist Party of the Regions” is incorrect”, while the second maintained that “the name of “Socialist Party of the Regions” is not identical to “Party of the Regions” or “Socialist Party of Ukraine” and, therefore, the party can be registered”. Obviously, the two opinions are at variance with each other. The court of appeals ruled that the trial court had no right to use these opinions, as they were “for reference only and did not provide any legal conclusions for the Ministry of Justice”; therefore, the Ministry of Justice decision is right. This position is rather bizarre as well, as the decision on the identity of the parties’ names in fact contradicts the linguists’ opinions.
The Circuit administrative court of Kyiv on April 13, 2010 supported the Ministry of Justice refusal to register political party “Sir Henry”. The court ruled that “the use of a title “Sir”, never used in Ukraine, in the name of a politicalal party, is a direct indicator of a foreign influence on the party”; that’s why its creation is contrary to article 37 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
Before elections, a political party “Motherland” often encountered problems in dealing with legalization bodies. In particular, the Ministry of Justice departments refused to register the changes in the local branches’ leadership, while Pechersk district court (Kyiv) for the unclear legal reasons, prohibited party members from holding their party conferences and electing their leaders, as a means to satisfy the claim, filed by the dismissed leaders. Thus, the activity of the local branches was completely blocked for the unspecified time period. For example, it could not approve the voters’ lists for the local elections.15 The dismissed leaders, in the meantime, tried to register their own list of candidates, enjoying active support from the official bodies. Only under the pressure of local and international public opinion the alternative party clones’ lists were banned from registration. The problem, however, was not resolved and this party never managed to nominate its candidates in Kyiv and Lviv oblast’s.
For example, in August 2010 the leadership of Kyiv oblast’ branch of the political party “All-Ukrainian”Motherland” Association”, was dismissed, as it, allegedly, started to act on behalf of the ruling party. On August 21 the party approached the Chief Department of Justice for Kyiv oblast’, but on August 30 the Department passed a decision “on ignoring the information on changes in the party leadership”. The Law contains no provisions for response by”ignoring’. In fact, it was Department’s intervention into the party governance, as it tried to question the legitimacy of the 13th election meeting of Kyiv oblast’ party branch.
A bit earlier, on May 25, 2010 presidium of political party “All-Ukrainian”Motherland” Association”, dismissed V. Mibozhenko from the office of the head of Kyiv oblast’ party branch. He wanted the court to revoke the decision. On July 13 he submitted a formal appeal. On the same day the appeal was filed, the judges appointed and the case tried. The adjudicator allowed the appeal with the ruling which annulled all the decisions concerning Mibozhenko’s dismissal. It looks like such speedy trial would be impossible in usual cases, when a judge is really independent.
On September 8 Mibozhenko appealed against the new decision on his dismissal, issued by his political party on July 14. Like in the previous case, his appeal was immediately filed, the same judges appointed, the hearing started and his appeal satisfied. The only difference laid in the fact that this time the court not only annulled all the former decisions concerning Mibozhenko, but also prohibited the Chief Department of Justice for Kyiv oblast’ to register any changes in the party leadership.
Both appeals have not been considered before the end of 2010 and activity of the oblast’ branch was practically blocked for the time of local elections in September-November 2010. In the meantime, the officials who disagreed with their dismissal, tried to carry on with oblast’ branch operation disregarding party interests. Namely, they tried to register their representatives or their list of candidates to Kyiv oblast’ council, in the election committees.
3. Inspections of the associations’ statutory activities
Under article 25 On Civic Organisations the legalization body is empowered to carry out inspections of the associations’ statutory activities.
In the course of 2009 the Ministry of Justice monitored the adherence to statutory provisions in 337 public associations and other NGOs. The inspection results showed that 275 (82% of the total number of organizations subject to monitoring) organizations function in compliance with the legislation and their own statutes. In 62 (18% of the total number of organizations subject to monitoring) organizations the violations of legislation and their own statutes were revealed. They were informed about the violations and refused the registration of statutory changes.
In 2009 the territorial justice departments monitored the statutory activity of nearly 9 thousand public associations (in 2008 – 7.3 thousand, in 2007 – 6.5 thousand respectively) and 572 judgments were pronounced (in 2008 – 730, in 2007 – 550 respectively).
These figures show that the number of public associations’ inspections carried out by the justice departments, is increasing.
The justice departments in Zaporizhya, Cherkassy, Donetsk, Odessa, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv oblast’s and Kyiv were among the most active. The raion, city and district justice departments of Zhytomyr, Odessa, Donetsk, Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Poltava oblast’s ranked first in exercising their control functions.
The inspection results of 2009 showed that out of 9 thousand inspected public associations 1.3 thousand were not found at the registration addresses (14, 5 % of the total number of organizations subject to monitoring); respective protocol were written down; nearly 1.4 thousand (15, 5%) received recommendations on the necessity of harmonizing their operation with current legislation and their own statutes.
The routine and extraordinary inspections of 66 political parties were organized in 2009. Typical faults were revealed in the statutory operation of 17 parties. Namely, they concerned the procedure for electing delegates to the conventions and conferences by the city, raion and oblast’ party branches, failure to notify the justice departments of the changes in party leadership or address; non-compliance with part 6, article 11 of the Law on political parties, concerning the setting up of party organizations in raions, cities of oblast subordination districts of Kyiv and Sebastopol, primary party organizations etc.
Even so the Ministry of Justice spelled out the need for further intensifying the check up process as one of its major goals.
Absence of clear legal provisions for initiating the extraordinary inspections allows legalization bodies to act at their own discretion. The procedural recommendations for the Ministry of Justice and its territorial departments stipulate that their control functions in regard to public associations should be exercised 16 when registering the statutory changes, reviewing the information party clones n on changes in the leadership of the entity under control; within the framework of routine inspections of NGOs (defined by special annual plans); extraordinary inspections of the organizations are in order if legalization bodies receive specific information from law enforcement bodies, individual or public complaints; or legalization body can initiate the inspection on its own, if mass media publish the information on illegal (non-statutory) operation of the inspection object. The executive committees of the village, settlement and city councils have no clearly defined provisions, under which they, as the legalization bodies, authorized by the law, are supposed to carry out inspections. Article 25 of the Law “On Civic Organisations” stipulates that the legalization bodies’ staff can be present at the events, organized by public associations, demand relevant documents and clarifications.
4. Pressure on organizations, their leaders and members
The pressure, put upon public organizations and their activists, substantially increased in 2010.
An employee of the Chief Directorate for fighting organized crime under the MIA of Ukraine for Vinnytsa oblast’ on February 2, 2010 visited the office of Vinnytsa group for human rights’ protection to check “the legality of Vinnytsa group for human rights’ protection, specifically, in relation to its declarations causing damage to the international image of Ukraine”. Upon request from the Chief Directorate officer he was shown the certified copies of the constituent documents - the organization statute, certificate of official registration, registration in State tax inspection and in the Statistics department. The “inspector” also demanded and received written clarification concerning Vinnytsa group for human rights’ protection declaration, published following the detention of a refugee Akhmed Chatayev in Zakarpat’ska oblast’”17. In the MIA opinion this declaration could be harmful to the international image of Ukraine.18 Here Chief Directorate intervention ended.
On October 15, 2010 a search, sanctioned by Lenin district court (Vinnytsa) on September 22, 2010, was carried out in the apartment of the group coordinator Dmitry Groisman, in relation to criminal case addressing pornography dissemination. The criminal case was opened after Groisman published a video-clip, available for free on YouTube, in his blog “Live Journal”. The video-clip, made with hidden camera and shown on Russian TV, contained the scenes allegedly involving well-known members of Russian opposition. This clip was published by many resources and not disseminated by Groisman personally. According to Groisman, it was published to demonstrate how authorities can meddle in the private lives of oppositionists and activists to discredit them.
After the search militiamen wanted to see the office of Vinnytsa group for human rights’ protection, rented in the neighbouring flat. Without court sanction they asked and were given permission from the property’s owner, although this latter mentioned that it is rented by an organization, contains nothing but organization’s property and, therefore, the organization’s consent would be needed as well. On entering the office of Vinnytsa group for human rights protection, militiamen practically searched it and confiscated documents and equipment, which, in their opinion, looked suspicious. Specifically, all the computers and electronic carriers, all book-keeping documents, confidential clients’ and refugees’ information, written communications between the group and European Court of human rights on the cases Kulik v. Ukraine, Zabolotni v. Ukraine and Aleksei Makarov v. Ukraine were seized. The aforementioned documents had absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case, which was an alleged ground for the search.
The law stipulates that the search can be carried out only during the daytime; this search, however, lasted till 2 a.m, in line with the best soviet KGB traditions. It was also strange that, although search sanction was issued a month earlier, it was scheduled for the very day of Groisman’s absence from town - he was on business trip and, therefore, could not be present.
After the search Groisman was interrogated several times. A lot of questions had nothing to do with criminal case under investigation, but related to the operation of the Vinnytsa group for human rights protection. Several other organization members were interrogated too.
Obviously, all the procedural steps and confiscated property had nothing to do with fabricated criminal case. Their real goal was seizing of evidence proving human rights’ violations and paralyzing group’s operation.
By November 2010 the confiscated documents have not been yet returned to the organization. Among other documents there are legal documents of the group’s clients, whom it assists in courts. The delay creates a threat for timely procedural actions. Therefore, the law enforcement officials set up impediments in access to t court or efficient law-suits for many individuals.
On September 1, 2010 a murderous assault against Vasyl Karev was committed in Komsomolsk (Poltava oblast’). Vasyl was the workers’ movement activist in Poltava ore mining/processing plant, member of trade union organization “People’s solidarity”. Returning home after the night shift, V.Karev felt something was wrong with his car. He pulled over, examined the car and found out that all the four nuts of the front wheel were completely loose. Karev was among the organizers of protest action at the plant in August 2010, during which he refused to be discharged under administrative pressure “by mutual consent”. As of today, 4 out of 15 persons on administration’s “black list” already signed their resignations, i.e I.Bozhok, S.Burlaka, V.Savchuk and O.Tatarinov. The statement concerning the murderous assault against the workers’ activist was submitted to law enforcement bodies by “People’s solidarity”.
On October 8, 2010 the head of Eupatoria city department of the MIA of Ukraine in ARC O.Osadchy demanded that the head of “User”, the all-Ukrainian NGO of individuals with mental disabilities R.Imereli send him the copies of fiscal and book-keeping documents of the organization, as well as the organization project description. The alleged goal was to monitor the use of the project money. Specifically, it concerned the project which monitored the violation of human rights in mental institutions of ARC. The project uncovered a lot of violations. It was right after the project results were made public, that the project manager Andriy Fedosov was severely beaten and received numerous phone threats. None of these incidents were investigated, despite numerous statements made by human rights activists19. On the contrary, the demand demonstrated that militia launched the investigation of the organization’s activity. The grounds for investigation or alleged Fedosov’s offence remain unknown. These actions are clearly aimed at intimidating the activists and blocking further project implementation and organization’s activity as a whole.
The Vinnytsa court decision on forced hospitalization of A.Bondarenko with the goal of assessing his mental lucidity is another example of human rights activist’s persecution. The decision was made on the grounds that he filed too many complaints, despite the fact that the file contained the documents certifying his normality.20
5. Temporary ban on types of activities and the liquidation of associations
There were no cases recorded during 2009-2010 of sanctions for participating in associations. Administrative responsibility for the activity of unregistered civic organizations remains as acting (Article 186-5 of the Code of Administrative Offences).
According to the Unified State Registry of Ukraine 63 political parties or their branches, 450 civic organizations, 21 religious organizations and 177 trade unions or their associations were removed from registration in 2009.
As the Ministry of Justice stated on its site, “Analysis and summary of the territorial justice departments’ information on political parties’ compliance with part 6, article 11 of the Law of Ukraine “On political parties in Ukraine” shows that 8 parties are at variance with the requirements, having failed to register their oblast’, city and raion organizations in the majority of Ukrainian oblast’s, Kyiv, Sebastopol and Autonomous Republic of Crimea within 6 months”. Therefore, the Ministry approached the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv demanding the cancellation of their registration certificates (over 6 months of 2010 same applied to 4 parties). Let’s have a look at some exemplary cases.
On March 1, 2010, the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv annulled the registration certificate of a political party “Safeguarding local interests of people” (the Ministry of Justice Resolution № 1093/5 of May 20, 2010).
By the same court’s decision of September 29, 2009 the party “People’s will” was terminated. Its members filed an appeal, which was allowed on November 5, 2009, with the revocation of the earlier annulment decision. This outstanding ruling of Kyiv administrative court of appeals, quoting the European convention on protection of human rights and Fundamental principles of banning political parties and similar formations, approved by Venice Commission at its 41 plenary session (Venice, December 10-11, 1999) stated the following:
„By April 3, 2009 the respondent has set up primary organizations and local party organizations in 15 oblast’s of Ukraine, which constitutes more than half of administrative and territorial units of Ukraine as defined by article 133 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
By July 31, 2009, before the suit was brought to the trial court, 21 oblast’ party organizations of “People’s will” already functioned in Ukraine.
Meanwhile the annulment of a political party registration certificate in its legal consequences equals forced dissolution of a political party or similar prohibitive measure.
As the respondent’s branches function in the majority of Ukrainian oblast’s, the respondent’s activity does not present a threat to Ukrainian independence, constitutional order or sovereignty, or to the rights and freedoms of the citizens, and, therefore, the termination of respondent’s operation by annulling its registration certificate cannot be applied.
By the decision of the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv, passed in October, 2010, the Ministry’s of Justice suit was not satisfied on the same grounds. The suit concerned the dissolution of “Future Ukraine” party; the same applied to political party “Human Rights Protection” in February 2010; “Civic movement of Ukraine” and “Awakening” parties – in November, 2009; Progressive-Democratic Party – in 2009 (the Ministry of Justice appeal of October 12, 2010 was satisfied only in part and did not change the essence of the decision).
At the same time, Kyiv administrative court of appeals on February 11, 2010 rejected the appeal of “Party of Law” against the trial court decision on its annulment on the same grounds. Earlier the Ministry of Justice suit was satisfied by the decision of Pechersk district court (Kyiv) of May 30, 2007 and consequently party registration certificate of June 1, 2006 was annulled. Kyiv administrative court of appeals ruling of June 11, 2008 denied the appeal. The cassation appeal of “Party of Law” was satisfied by the ruling of High administrative court of Ukraine of March 26, 2009. The case was sent to the court of appeals for revision, which finally resulted in the same decision. This decision of February 11, 2010 was once again annulled by the decision of September 14, 2010 of High administrative court, so that the case was returned to the court of appeals, which revised it already twice.
In July 2010 political party “For Ukraine!” reported that Ministry of Justice departments went to law trying to liquidate its local branches. For example, the Circuit administrative court of Sumy nullified the official registration of Sumy oblast’ organization of “For Ukraine!” party. The party speakers announced that it was done to exclude the party from local elections.
The desire of the Ministry of Justice and its territorial departments to annul parties’ registration and centres has no logical explanation – the legal practice is quite unambiguous and their suits are usually denied. One would assume that there is a special order concerning rigid control over parties and their number.
Various bodies of authority tried to liquidate public organizations by court decisions. In particular, the Prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Justice departments tried to liquidate civic organizations on the grounds of their absence at registration address, while tax inspections tried to do the same on the grounds of failure to submit tax declarations required by the law.
Thus, on July 6, the Circuit administrative court of ARC met the claim of the Prosecutor’s Office (Krasnogvardeysky raion) concerning the dissolving of Krasnogvardeysky raion civic organization “Association for education and enlightenment promotion”. The inspection of the organization statutory activity, held by Krasnogvardeysky raion ARC justice department, showed that the aforementioned organization was not located at the premises, specified in the statutory documents, which rendered inspection impossible. Respective protocols of March 24, 2008, of August 5, 2008 and of April 16, 2009, testifying to the absence of organization, were compiled. The court’s ruling read as follows:
„Under the circumstances the court arrives at the conclusion that Krasnogvardeysky raion civic organization “Association for education and enlightenment promotion” is not to be found at its legal address, does not hold the meetings or re-elections of its constituent bodies and does not provide legalization body with the information on its statutory activity or officials constituting its central governance body, which is a violation of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Organisations” and causes damages to national interests, making it impossible for the control bodies to exercise control over civic organization operation”.
On the same grounds the Crimean Scouts’ Association was liquidated by the decision of the Circuit administrative court of ARC on the motion of the Chief justice department under the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in ARC. The decision read:”
„Under the circumstances the court arrives at the conclusion that the Crimean Scouts’ Association is not to be found at its legal address, has no fiscal or book-keeping activity, does not provide reports on mandatory payments or pay the fees in accordance with the procedure and in sums, envisaged by the legislation, which is a violation of articles 24 and 26 of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Organisations” and causes damages to national interests, making it impossible for the control bodies (i.e. pension fund) to exercise control over the civic organization’s fiscal and economic operation.
The organization does not hold the meetings or re-elections of its constituent bodies, which is a gross violation of the Statutory provision 6.5, under which the board of the association meets at least once a year to approve the presidium decision on new memberships and new board members”.
On the same grounds the Circuit administrative court of ARC by its decision of September 9, 2009 liquidated a youth NGO “Crimean association of young activists”, and by decision of November 26, 2009 – Saky local organization of “Ukrainian social-democratic youth”.
Odessa ranks first in the number of such lawsuits. By the decisions of Odessa Circuit administrative court of September 3, 2009 on the motion of the Chief justice department for Odessa oblast’ 2 public organizations were liquidated, i.e. Regional foundation of soldier’s mothers “Hope initiative” and “Yoga and life” group, on the grounds of their absence at the legal address and failure to submit information on their activities. On the same grounds Odessa oblast’ Board of the Scientific Research association of radio engineering, electronics and communications of Ukraine, Odessa Children’s leukaemia foundation and “ABC of Love” NGO were disbanded by the decision of December 18, 2009. The same court passed respective decisions on liquidation of “Maria –A” NGO (March 17, 2009), “PHARAOH” NGO (June 9, 2009), “Anglers’ Club” NGO (June 25, 2009), “Chernobyl Union” Bilyaivka branch (July 19, 2010).
On March 24, 2010 the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv denied the suit, filed by State tax inspection requesting the termination of the legal entity “Information society – Centre for civic initiatives” due to its failure to submit the tax declarations required by the law. The court ruled that such lawsuits can be initiated exclusively by legalization bodies or the prosecutor’s office, while the tax inspection has no jurisdiction in the matter. Similarly, on the same grounds, on March 17, 2010 the Circuit administrative court of Kyiv denied the State tax inspection request to liquidate the Obolon’ district branch of all-Ukrainian Party for peace and unity.
Earlier, in 2008 Report, we mentioned the illegal liquidation of “Eurasian youth association” NGO. This organization was legalized by written notification on its founding, under the order of the Chief justice department for Kharkiv oblast’ № 70/2 of April 24, 2007.
By the order of the Chief justice department for Kharkiv oblast’ № 267/2 of September 04, 2007 the NGO “Eurasian youth association” incurred penalty in the form of notice. The Circuit administrative court of Kharkiv by its resolution of September 19, 2007 re case № 2а-1466/07 on the motion of deputy prosecutor of Kharkiv oblast’ under the Chief justice department for Kharkiv oblast’, banned the activity of “Eurasian youth association” NGO for three months. This resolution was appealed against in Kharkiv administrative court of appeals, which did not allow the appeal by its decision of August 20, 2008.
The Circuit administrative court of Kharkiv by its decision of November 6, 2008 liquidated “Eurasian youth association” NGO. The organization filed an appeal. On July 6, 2009 Kharkiv administrative court of appeals revoked the liquidation decision and rejected the claim. In particular, the court’s decision read:
„The panel of judges found that the trial court has made an erroneous decision concerning the continuation of “Eurasian youth association” NGO operation after penalty in the form of notice and temporary ban on activity were imposed.
Thus, the trial court classified the operation of “Eurasian youth association” NGO without duly registered statute or logo and its absence at the legal address as illegal…
The panel of judges makes a note that p. 1 article 32 of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Organisations” defines the exhaustive list of conditions, under which the grounds for enforced disbandment (liquidation) of a civic organization can be established.
This list, which is not to be interpreted extensively, does not mention the absence of an organization at its legal address as valid grounds.
The panel of judges classifies the decision of trial court stipulating that the absence of an organization at its legal address is an illegal act as wrong.
Taking all the aforesaid into consideration, the panel of judges arrives at the conclusion on inconsistency between the case circumstances and court’s rulings, which led to the unlawful decision.
In addition the panel of judges points out that the trial court justifiably ignored prosecutor’s and respondent’s references to the fact that, while the Kharkiv Circuit administrative court resolution of September 19, 2007 was still in force (till December 29, 2007) the supporters of Kharkiv “Eurasian youth association” and International Eurasian movement with center in Moscow continued their anti-Ukrainian activities, both in Kharkiv and in other regions of Ukraine. More than once the “Eurasian youth association” NGO advocates organized picketing of Criminal Investigation Department of MIA for Kharkiv olbast’, in violation of the Kharkiv Circuit administrative court decision. They demanded exemption of “Eurasian youth association” activists who participated in demolishing Ukrainian Insurgents’ Army monument on December 20, 2006, from criminal liability; they also picketed the Kharkiv city hall, demanding to stop “political persecutions” of “Eurasian youth association” activists. On October 14, 2007, in the Youth Park in Kharkiv, the proponents of “Eurasian youth association”(Kharkiv branch) used logos and attributes of their organization (banners and arm-bands) and tried to provoke the members of nationalist-democratic into physical confrontation, thus violating article 185-1 of the Administrative Code of Ukraine. The operatives of the raion division of Chief department of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine also detained a Ukrainian citizen, who claimed that he was the leader of Lyubotyn “Eurasian youth association” branch. Respective administrative protocol № 006616 of October 14, 2007 was compiled, incriminating him with violation of article 185-1 of the Administrative Code of Ukraine. The paragraph, containing “explanations from the person brought to administrative liability”, read [that he] “participated in the rally, representing “Eurasian youth association”. The judges’ attention was drawn to the fact that the official site of “Eurasian youth association” NGO (www.rоssia3.ru) published a EUA functionary declaration of his intention to kill President V.Yushchenko, which constitutes a felony, under p. 1 article 346 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Herewith, the panel of judges contends that the evidence, supplied by the prosecutor and the plaintiff to the case, does not confirm the facts of illegal actions, committed by the “Eurasian youth association” NGO, due to the following:
The materials, printed out from the Internet (www.rоssia3.ru) by the prosecutor and the plaintiff to support the illegal activity accusation, cannot be accepted by the panel of judges as material evidence in the case, because, according to the letter of June 2, 2009, submitted by Kharkiv National Radio-electronic University and expert opinions, provided on June 4, 2009 by the experts form Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, the quoted site is registered under the name of an individual in Moscow (Russian Federation), and no connection between the respondent and the aforementioned site has been established by the panel of judges discovering the case.
The pictures, submitted to prove respondent’s activity in organizing mass events, do not prove the participation of “Eurasian youth association” activists in these events and fail to establish the fact of the respondent’s unlawful activity at the time, when his operation was temporarily suspended.”
Obviously, the legal practice is most varied. The courts are unanimous in arguing that tax inspections have no authority to bring a suit demanding the termination of a civic organization or a party. In real life, however, there are many ways to liquidate a civic organization on the grounds of its absence at the registration address.
6. Participation in associations: joining, sanctions for participation, forced membership
In late2009 the European Court of Human Rights referred the case” Sherfedynov and others vs. Ukraine for Ukrainian government’s consideration21. The application was submitted by 9 supporters of an international Islam party Khizb-ut-Tahrir, not registered in Ukraine. The discussed the philosophical background of the party and disseminated information about it. In particular, on September 15, 2004 they distributed a leaflet “ Khizb-ut-Tahrir address to Muslims”, signed “ Khizb-ut-Tahrir members in Ukraine”.On March 22, 2005 raion militia division of Balaklava went to court demanding bringing members to account for their participation in unregistered organization. On March 31, 2005 Balaklava raion court found them guilty of this administrative offence and imposed fines, ranging between 425 and 527 UAH. The decision was final and could not be appealed. In the course of hearings 4 of the respondents claimed they had nothing to do with this party, while others testified that, although not the party members, they were interested in its ideology. Finally these individuals approached the European Court of Human Rights filing a complaint of violation of the freedom of associations and of opinion.
In 2010 the well-forgotten practice of forcing certain professionals into joining a party was reported. Specifically, such reports came from Kharkiv oblast’ concerning the teachers who were coerced to join the Party of Regions.
Problems also do exist with regard to membership of trade unions, especially with the heads of independent or newly formed trade unions experiencing persecution. They face threats of dismissal or threats of other nature.
1. Change the current law “On citizens’ associations” by passing a law “On civic organizations”, which should be in line with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the member states of the Council of Europe “On the legal status of nongovernmental organizations in Europe” (СМ/Rec(2007)14). The following, among other measures, are needed::
- Make the registration procedure cheaper, quicker and non-discriminatory as compared with profit-making organizations.
- Abolish double registration of civic organizations by concentrating all registration functions on the Ministry of Justice and its local departments, or to make registration of civic organizations as all other legal entities are registered;
- - Eliminate discriminatory registration procedures of organizations and registration of changes to statutory documents compared to other legal entities through applying to every single registration procedure which is envisaged by the Law “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs" (including the list of documents, requirements to documents, methods of changing and documents for registration of amendments);
- Remove restrictions on types of activities for associations.
- Recognize the right of civic organizations to not only defend the rights and interests of their own members, but also allow them to engage in any activities helping other individuals or society as a whole;
- abolish territorial restrictions on associations’ activities (the all-Ukrainian status may remain, however it should not lead to a restrict of the territory of local associations, while the procedure for gaining all-Ukrainian status should be voluntary);
- Provide the possibility of creating different forms of associations (associations of legal entities and individuals, associations of citizens’ associations and other types of organizations, for example, charities, etc)
- Eliminate restrictions to create subdivisions in other administrative-territorial units;
- Cancel a scheduled and unscheduled inspections, controlling responsibilities of the legalization authorities for the activities of NGOs, as illegal activities should be controlled by law enforcement agencies within the law;
- Abolish the obligation for local branches of civic organizations to register (we are not speaking of associations and unions of civic associations where the members are independently legalized citizens’ associations);
- Recognize the right of civic organizations to engage in economic activities without the purpose of receiving and dividing between the founders of the profits, but rather directed the profits towards fulfilling activities as per the articles of association;
- Recognize the right of NGOs to symbols and not compel them to fail to register its.
2. Remove Article 186-5 which establishes liability for the activity of unregistered civic organizations from the Code of Administrative Offences.
3. Introduce amendments to the Law on publishing activities in order to enable non-profit making organizations, and not only businesses, to establish publishing houses.
4. Introduce amendments to the law on charities and charity activities in order to:
harmonize the procedure for their registration with civic associations and other legislation, and also abolish double registration;
Cancel territorial restrictions over the activities of charitable organizations;
Make it possible to create other forms of charities, for example, funds (including those created in accordance with a will.
5. Sign and ratify the Convention on recognizing the legal rights of an international nongovernmental organization (ETS № 124), which came into force on 1 January 1991.
6. Bring legislation, in particular the law on citizens’ associations, on freedom of conscience and religious organizations with norms with the European Convention on the Legal Status of Labour Migrants, ratified by parliament in April 2007.
7. Legislate the conditions of State assistance to nongovernmental non-profit making organizations, for example, stipulating the criteria for such assistance and the procedure for receiving it. Make the procedure for providing and using State funding directed at civic associations for carrying out State programmes competitive and open.
1 Prepared by Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHRU Executive Director. Tetyana Yatskiv, Center for civic advocacy (L’viv) also contributed materials and commentary.
2 See e.g. information on similar case in Cherkassy http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?print=1285265162.
4 Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights from 3 April 2008 in the case of Koretskyy and Others v. Ukraine (Application no. 40269/02) available at: www.echr.coe.int, in Ukrainian at: http://zakon.nau.ua/doc/?uid=1014.6553.0.
6 Available on Verkhovna Rada site: http://gska2.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb_n/webproc4_1?id=&pf3511=38784.
8 Available on Verkhovna Rada site: http://gska2.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb_n/webproc4_1?id=&pf3511=38911.
9 Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Koretskyy and Others v. Ukraine.
11 Analytical information on results of operation of the Ministry of Justice and its territorial departments in the area of printed mass media and information agencies registration for the years 2009 and 2010 www.minjust.gov.ua.
12 The total number of subjects registered in USR in various areas of economy and organizational/legal forms of trade operation as of January 1, 2010, State Statistics Committee info http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua.
15 „Tymoshenko accused authorities of stealing oblast’ branches of her party” September 9, . http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1284056834.
16 See procedural recommendations for the Ministry of Justice and its territorial departments in exercising their control functions, stipulated by legislation with regards to civic organizations. . #9
18 Chief Directorate for fighting organized crime under the MIA of Ukraine checks “the legality of Vinnytsa group for human rights’ protection, specifically, in relation to its declarations causing damage to the international image of Ukraine”., http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1265196163.
19 See, e.g. a letter sent by Human Rights Watch to Prosecutor General on May 5, 2010: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/05/letter-prosecutor-general-ukraine-re-andrey-fedosov.
20 For more on Bodnarenko’s persecution see “Right to freedom” section .
21 Bayazet Ruslanovich SHERFEDINOV and Others against Ukraine (no. 29585/05, 29 July 2005).