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13.12.2002 | Aleksey Svetikov, Severodonetsk

The Severodonetsk executive committee has almost agreed that meetings may be held not only in the assigned places

   

Yesterday, after the beginning of court consideration of the complaint against the resolution "On assigning the places for conducting meetings, rallies and other actions", the executive committee changed the text of the resolution replacing the word "assign" for the word "recommend" concerning the three places permitted for conducting the mass actions. Severodonetsk, as the "most democratic" town of the Lugansk oblast, was included into the list of the eight Ukrainian towns, where the local power decided to "regulate" the political actions. On 5 November the town executive committee adopted resolution No. 1836 "On assigning the places for holding meetings, rallies and other actions", which read: "To prevent the coincidence of the meetings, rallies and other actions held by public organisations and political parties with the all-town actions planned in the same places (what happened more than once), with the aim to fulfil item 3 section "a" of Article 38 of the Ukrainian Law "On local self-rule in Ukraine", the executive committee of the town council DECIDED: To regard as inexpedient the conduction of the meetings, rallies and other actions by public organisations and political parties in the town squares, near administrative buildings, shopping centres and main transport lines because of the difficulties in guaranteeing the public order in the places of great assemblies of people and transport. To assign the following places for holding the meetings, rallies and other actions by public organisations and political parties in the town of Severodonetsk: the area in front of the Ice Sports Palace; the area in front of the stadium "Khimik"; the tennis-courts of the town sport school".

On 14 November a complaint against this resolution was handed to the Severodonetsk town court. The complaint referred to Article 11 of the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The Constitution of Ukraine reads that only court may restrict the right for assemblies. The complaint demanded to cancel resolution No. 1836 as void and violating human rights. The complaint was compiled by A. Svetikov, the head of the Lugansk oblast branch of the voters’ committee of Ukraine. On 3 December 2002 an additional complaint was handed to the court about the violation of procedural terms; the complaint demanded to begin the case consideration without delay. On 16 December the judge organised the preparatory meeting with the parties of the trial, after which, on 17 December, the executive committee introduced the changes to item 2 of the resolution replacing the word "assign" for the word "recommend" concerning the three places permitted for holding the mass actions. This gives the organisers of the actions the grounds to ignore the resolution. In our opinion, the resolution contradicts the Constitution even now, so our committee intends to continue the court proceedings demanding to abolish the resolution. The next court sitting is planned to be held on 25 December.

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