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Human rights in Ukraine – 2007. 9. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

   

[1]

The situation with observance of the right of peaceful assembly changed in 2007, as compared with the previous year. Monitoring which the “Respublica” Institute has been carrying out for several years showed positive trends during that year. There were considerably less infringements of the right to peaceful assembly than in 2006, and in the first half of 2007 not one case where the police dispersed a rally was observed.

These trends can best be observed if one compares the situation with freedom of assembly in 2007 with, on the one hand, that in 2006, and on the other with the events of the first months of 2008.

This type of comparison makes it very clear that the exercising of freedom of assembly at present is entirely about administrative practice since, aside from Article 39 of the Constitution, there are no other normative legal acts  regulating peaceful assembly. Local regulations based on the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 28 July 1988 are in breach of the Constitution and are declared unlawful by courts. Such regulations do, however, exist in some regions and are a source of conflict. The quality of administrative practice in the context of police behaviour depends to a large extent on the management of the Department of Public Safety of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and their understanding of the role of the police in this area.

Overall, according to MIA figures, in 2007 there were 187, 852 peaceful gatherings (against 170, 700 in 2006, 124, 400 in 2005) involving almost 82.5 million people (against 85.3 million in 2006 and 63 million in 2005).  One thus sees a clear trend towards increasing numbers of peaceful gatherings.

 

1.  Legal regulation of the right to peaceful assembly in Ukraine

During 2007, not one legal act was passed to regulate freedom of assembly. Thus, just as previously, the right to peaceful assembly is solely regulated by Article 39 of Ukraine’s Constitution. This establishes a notification-based system, where the organizations of rallies and demonstrations merely inform the local authorities of their plans. No permit from any State authority or body of local self-government is envisaged. Only the courts may prohibit a rally or in any way restrict the right of assembly.

Several draft special laws on freedom of assembly drawn up by civic organizations, National Deputies and the Cabinet of Ministers[2], did not end up being considered by the Verkhovna Rada in 2007.

An important milestone was the examination by the Babushkinsky District Court in Dnipropetrovsk of a civil suit filed by the local civic organization “Respublica” calling for the rules “Regulations on holding mass events in the city of Dnipropetrovsk” to be quashed. These Regulations[3] were the most draconian of any passed by the local authorities in Ukraine (for example, rallies were permitted only in one place, and in order to hold any kind of gathering, you needed the permission of eight (!!!) municipal services). As we explained in previous reports, all such “Regulations”, passed by the local authorities of many Ukrainian cities are unconstitutional. In Kyiv, Lviv, Sumy and several other cities similar “Regulations” were revoked by the courts, or previously cancelled by the city councils. However, in a number of cities – Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhya and Poltava, they continue to be used as the grounds for courts banning gatherings, and even, in contravention of the Constitution, for bans without a court order, at the decision of the local authorities.

On 30 March 2007 the court revoked the said “Regulations” as unconstitutional[4], and in June the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Court of Appeal upheld this ruling. It is important that the court ruling stated that bodies of local self-government cannot (in accordance with Article 92 of the Constitution) pass any decisions which regulate the exercising of civil rights.

On 6 June 2007 the Executive Committee of the Kharkiv City Council passed Decision № 543 approving Temporary Regulations “On the procedure for reviewing issues regarding the organization and holding of gatherings, rallies, processions and demonstrations in the city of Kharkiv”. Almost all items of this decision by an executive body of local self-government fail to comply (directly contravene) legal acts of the highest legal force, specifically the Constitution of Ukraine, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Constitutional Court Judgment № 4-rn/2001 from 19 April 2001. For example, Items 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 of the Regulations specify places in the city which, in the view of officials of the City Executive Committee, are the only ones in the city where demonstrations, procession and rallies can be held.

A positive change to be mentioned is that during 2007 neither the authorities nor bodies of local self-government even once referred to legislation dating back to Soviet days on freedom of assembly, for example, to the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 28 July 1988 «On the procedure for the organization of meetings, political rallies, street events and demonstrations in the USSR”, as was the case in previous years.[5]

 

2.  Exercise of freedom of assembly in 2007: change in the attitude of the police to the issue

2007 sawvirtually no change as regards the attitude of the local authorities to peaceful assembly, particularly to those involving political opposition. The local authorities tried to ban or “suspend” them.

For example, back on 29 December 2006 representatives of the Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA), under the leadership of its Deputy Head Volodymyr Holovach, ignored a ruling from the Shevchenkivsky District Court which on 25 December had turned down an application from the KCSA to ban a peaceful gathering. Purely on the grounds of an act regarding “infringement of the rules for municipal improvements”, drawn up on the eve of the event by representatives of the KCSA and the public pavements department of the Shevchenkivsky district, they dismantled the tent erected for gauging public opinion on the social project “12 steps towards the authorities” by activists from the All-Ukrainian Union “Civic Council of Ukraine” on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square].  Approximately thirty members of the gathering present when the tent was being dismantled showed resistance to the representatives of the KCSA and the public pavements department. Yet police officers present paid no heed to the demands made by Mr Holovach and did not take part in dismantling the tent. They did not detain any of the members of the gathering, as called for by the Deputy Head of the KCSA, and also refused to use special devices against them.

Furthermore, on 23 January 2007, following a check of statements from the Chair of the “Civic Council of Ukraine” V. Khaletsky, the investigation officer from the department of the Shevchenkivsky District Police Department passed material to the Shevchenkivsky District Prosecutor’s Office. The material concerns infringements by officials of the KCSA during the removal of the tent of Article 364 (abuse of power or official position) and Article 365 (exceeding ones authority or official powers) of the Criminal Code.  On 13 February the Prosecutor’s office refused to initiate a criminal investigation against officials of the Kyiv authorities however this case was the first recorded case in Ukraine’s history where the police did not take measures against participants of a peaceful gathering as demanded by the local authorities, but instead accused the authorities of violating the rights of peaceful assembly. The police pointed out that the representatives of the KCSA had dismantled the tent in contravention of the said ruling of the Shevchenkivsky District Court from 25.12.2006 and without representatives of the State Bailiffs’ Service being present.

In December 2006 Vasyl Tsushko was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs. The majority of Deputy Ministers also changed. The Department of Public Safety which deals directly with public order during meetings was headed by Vasyl Fatkutdonov who took a new position on the issue of freedom of assembly.

 

When, on 27 January 2007, the Mayor of Kyiv (and Head of the KCSA) Leonid Chernovetsky sent the Minister of Internal Affairs a letter demanding that the police bring administrative charges under Article 185-1 of the Code of Administrative Offences against the activists of the “Civic Council of Ukraine”, the reply received read: “Police officers had no grounds for drawing up administrative protocols over infringements foreseen in Article 185-1 (Infringement of the procedure for organizing and holding gatherings, rallies, street processions and demonstrations) of the CAO against representatives of the All-Ukrainian Union “Civic Council of Ukraine”.

In the change in attitude of the police to freedom of assembly, a by no means small role was played by human rights organizations whose representatives joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs Public Council (the Public Council) for the Observance of Human Rights created in December 2005.  During 2007 direct contact was established between human rights defenders and the management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Thanks to this it was possible to swiftly resolve difficult issues on safeguarding the right to peaceful assembly, for example, releasing picketers detained under Article 185-1 of the CAO (detained, in the view of human rights defenders unwarrantedly) in Kyiv (January) and Odessa (October).  The MIA management also involved members of the Public Council in official commissions investigating the actions of the police during much publicized events (the actions of the police special unit “Berkut” during the football match “Dynamo” (Kyiv) – “Shakhtar” {Donetsk) on 27 May and the picket over the monument to the Russian Empress Catherine II in Odessa in summer and autumn). The use of force by the police was found by the commission to have been unjustified and disciplinary measures were brought against a number of police officers. A criminal investigation over the actions of the police and football fans during the match is still underway.

The MIA Department for Public Safety in 2007 for the first time drew up “Method guidelines for ensuring law and order during mass events and protest actions”. This took into account a lot of the wishes of human rights groups regarding safeguarding the right of peaceful assembly, as well as European practice and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of assembly. For example, these “Method guidelines” stipulate that if disruption to public order arises during a rally, the police do not “suspend” (i.e. disperse) it, but localize and put an end to the actual infringement of order without stopping the entire rally. It is also stated that according to Ukrainian legislation and normative acts of the MIA and the Ministry of Justice, police officers are only used by State bailiffs during enforcement of court rulings (including rulings prohibiting rallies) to maintain law and order.

In April 2007 the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv banned meetings in the centre of the capital over the President’s Decree dissolving parliament, both those by the “white and blue”, and the “orange” political forces. It banned them at the application of the Kyiv City State Administration because, according to the applicant, there could be run-ins between the various political forces. In our view, by taking this decision, the court infringed the Constitution and ignored the case law of the European Court of Human Rights which, according to Ukrainian legislation is a “source of law”. In its turn, the MIA leadership (V. Fatkhutnikov) stated that, despite the court ruling, the police would not obstruct either meeting, and would merely protect public order. All measures planned by the various political camps took place over several weeks on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square], European Square and near the building housing the Constitutional Court in the capital. The police did not get in the way of these events and merely placed a cordon between demonstrators representing different political factions. No violations of public order were recorded. Such action by the police can be viewed as safeguarding the rule of law (perhaps for the first time in Ukraine’s recent history).

The holding of the annual Freedom March which takes place in many cities in the world on the first Sunday in May, calling for the decriminalization of soft drugs was typical. In 2006 the Kyiv police had blocked the action even despite a court ruling which did not ban the march.  This behaviour from the law enforcement agencies aroused sharp criticism from human rights organizations, but was supported by the then Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko. .In 2007 the police, taking heed of the view of civic organizations, rather than obstructing participants of the action, as had been the case the previous year, guarded them from their opponents – members of far-right groups and skinheads. Both actions took place – “Freedom March” and the action of its opponents.

There was also a certain test for the police in the holding of gay and lesbian processions. On the evening of 17 May activists of the gay and lesbian movement in Ukraine held a public action on Kyiv’s Khreschatyk St aimed at fighting homophobia and promoting tolerance. A spontaneous event turned into a gay and lesbian procession. Those taking part included members of a considerable number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization and informal groups: the Kyiv civic organization Gay Alliance; the feminist-lesbian information and educational centre Women’s Network; the all-Ukrainian civic organization Gay Forum of Ukraine and others. Along the way no significant incidents occurred if we disregard the verbal exchanges between activists and individual by-passers. The surprise awaited the participants of the procession in Shevchenko Park which procession began reaching close to eight in the evening, in order to take off their gay and lesbian, and anti-homophobia badges, etc, on the square around the monument to Kobzar [the poet Taras Shevchenko)  and to review the event.

 It transpired that the capital’s law enforcement agencies had seriously worried for the safety of the participants of the action and very swiftly deployed considerable numbers of spetsnaz [Special Forces] officers. According to participants in the procession there were no less than a hundred officers. The spetsnaz officers were placed around the perimeter of the park, and also directly by the members of the procession which had already ended. The presence of the spetsnaz was entirely justified since it turned out that members of an ultra-right group were planning to confront the members of the procession. However they were too late. A group of homophobic young people had arrived at the square when the procession ended and people were addressing the participants. Under the watchful eye of the spetsnaz officers, the procession participants left the park.

The head of the operation for safeguarding public order during the action said in an informal conversation with the procession’s organizers, that the spetsnaz forces had been brought in to prevent violence and gave advice how to disperse so as to minimize possible risk.[6]

  During 2007, according to MIA figures, 169 participants in peaceful gatherings faced administrative measures (against 158 in 2006). There were no cases recorded, as in previous years, of public officials being punished for obstructing peaceful gatherings.

 

3. The role of the local authorities and the courts in violating freedom of assembly

If one can speak of positive changes in the attitude of the police to freedom of assembly, this cannot be extended to the how the local authorities and bodies of local self-government viewed this right, nor to the attitude of the courts during 2007.

We have already spoken of the attitude demonstrated by officials from the Kyiv City State Administration, however in 2007 the heads of the Kharkiv and Lviv City Councils also violated freedom of assembly.

At the beginning of March, the Kharkiv City Executive Committee applied to the court to ban a rally of the movement “Narodna samooborona” [“People’s Self-Defence”] planned for 18 March on Freedom Square. The reasons given for the application were that the organizers had not informed the authorities in timely fashion (in Ukrainian legislation it is still not stated within what period of time the authorities must be informed of a planned gathering); had not provided a scenario for the action; had not agreed the cleaning up of the area with the communal services, etc (these requirements to organizers of gatherings are not contained at all in any legal act in Ukraine. The Dzerzhinsky District Court in Kharkiv suspended preparation for the rally, as well as advertisements about it in the press, while it considered the case.  Then National Deputies from “Nasha Ukraina” [“Our Ukraine] decided to organize in their own name a meeting with voters in the same place. However the Secretary of the Kharkiv City Council, Genady Kernes, during the evening of 15 March, together with employees of the communal services dismantled the stage which the organizers had erected on Freedom Square.

On that same day, 15 March, the court did in fact ban any rallies on 16 March on that Kharkiv square and the “People’s Self-Defence” rally was held in a different place.

The District [Okruzhny] Administrative Court for the Kharkiv region turned down the administrative suit brought by the local authorities for a ban against an action on 9 August in Kharkiv to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.[7]

In September employees of one of the construction enterprises in Lviv demanded the resignation of a judge of the Lychakivsksy District Court in Lviv who, in their opinion, had violated a judge’s oath by issuing in the space of one day several dozen (!!!) rulings freezing the shares owned by members of the work team of the enterprise. On 12 September, on the application of the Lviv City Executive Committee, the Halytsky District Court in Lviv prohibited a picket of the Lychakivsksy District Court. The picketers stopped their protest action after this, believing their goal to have been achieved – the issue of justice in the Lychakivsksy District Court was taken up by the High Council of Justice, and leaflets explaining the actions of the judge involved had by that time been handed out to passers-by and people in public transport.

District [Okruzhny] Administrative Court in Kyiv refused to place restrictions on mass actions on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and in other central squares in Kyiv from 24 to 30 September as applied for by the Kyiv City State Administration.[8]

At the beginning of October the Suvorovsky District Court in Kherson banned a peaceful torch procession to mark the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The court justified its ruling on the grounds that this would obstruct the movement of ambulances, fire engines, and “will also inevitably lead to the disorganization of the work of the authorities and bodies of local self-government.”   The court moreover made reference to flawed decisions from the Kherson City Executive Committee, passed back in March 2006, which was in our view unlawful and unconstitutional.[9]

The Leninsky District Court in Sevastopol on 18 October prohibited the civic organization “Movement against illegal immigration – Sevastopol” from holding a “Russian March” on 4 November through the central streets and avenues of the city. The arguments from the local authorities could not fail to bemuse: the obstruction by the participants of the action of transport could do some degree paralyze the life of the city and cause its residents huge inconvenience.[10]

 

4. Incidents during mass gatherings

Most criticism last year was over the actions of the police Special Forces unit “Berkut” during the brawl in Kyiv at the Olympic Stadium during the football match “Dynamo” – “Shakhtar” on 27 May.

Immediately after these events, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Vasyl Fatkhutdinov set up a commission to look into the incident, including both representatives of the MIA and members of the MIA Public Council. The commission came to the conclusion that certain “Dynamo” fans had disrupted public order, however the behaviour of the police officers establishing order had not been appropriate to the situation. As the result of the commission’s investigation, disciplinary measures were taken against “Berkut” officers who had used excessive force against football fans. For comparison, the actions of “Berkut” against “Dynamo” fans in June 2005 at the same station during a match between the same teams aroused sharp criticism from human rights groups. Yet  the then Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko stated that there had been no violations in the behaviour of the police officers and that there were therefore no grounds for setting up a special commission.

On 27 June 2007 people protesting against construction work near No. 14 on Bereznyakivska St in Kyiv were attacked by around 40 people who arrived in a coach. According to information provided by the Dniprovsky District Police Department, they inflict head, neck and stomach injuries on three of the protesters, residents of neighbouring buildings. After this, the assailants began erecting a fence cordoning off the territory of the future construction site. The protesters called the police and an ambulance, and the police detained seven of the assailants – 18-20-year-old students of the Kyiv National Institute for Physical Education who for a modest sum (the fee for such actions is normally around 150 UAH) agreed to carry out the attack on the protesters. Some of the assailants received administrative penalties. Against thirteen other attackers of the peaceful picket, a criminal investigation over the inflicting of bodily injuries is in process.

On 16 March 2008 police officers from the Pechersky District Police Department applied force to disperse a picket by the civic initiative “Preserve old Kyiv” against construction work  on the territory of the Zhovtneva Hospital, which the protesters consider illegal. During the dispersal a journalist from the Kyiv newspaper “Gazeta po-kyivsky” Andriy Manchuk received injuries. The MIA set up a commission however did not include members of the public despite demands to do so by representatives of the initiative “Preserve old Kyiv”.  As of the end of March 2008 the commission had not completed its investigation. However on 21 March 2008 the Head of the Kyiv Central Department of the MIA Vitaly Yarema stated that activists of the civic initiative, picketing on the territory of the hospital under construction, had been “commissioned” by unnamed individuals. Clearly such statements can influence the conclusions of the commission.

 

5. The Odessa region and the Crimea – problem regions

Whereas in the first half of 2007 the incidents of 27 May at the Olympic Stadium and on 27 June at Bereznyaky in Kyiv were essentially one-off incidents concerning mass gatherings, beginning from 25 June conflicts began in Odessa conflicts began over the dismantling of a memorial to the participants of the uprising against the Russian monarchy on the Battleship Potemkin in 1905 and the erection in its place of a monument to the Russian Empress Catherine the Second.  Catherine has a far from unequivocal reputation since it was she who issued the decrees ordering the destruction of the Zaporizhyan Sich and the inculcation of serfdom in Ukraine. Protests against the monument to Catherine were therefore organized by members of Cossack associations and organizations with a national orientation from many Ukrainian regions (Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky, Poltava and others). Most Odessa residents are indifferent to the honour paid the Russian Empress, however civic groups of Odessa Cossacks who cooperation with the local police on measures to maintain public order, actively supported the erection of the monument.

The protests ended only on 29 October when the monument erected at the decision of the Odessa City Council was unveiled. However during the four months from the time that the monument to the people of the Potemkin was dismantled to the opening of the monument to Catherine there were several run-ins between the Odessa police and Cossacks, drawn in by the police on the one hand, and representatives of Cossack associations from other regions and some Odessa residents (the largest number present, according to police reports, was 500) on the other.

From the point of view of the members of the “Respublica” Institute who took part in the work of the MIA commission which investigated the situation with peaceful assembly in Odessa in 2007, the biggest problem was the fact that the Odessa police involved the local Cossacks (having the formal right to do this in accordance with the Law “On the Police” in the confrontation with the opponents of erecting the monument.  The police thus contributed to a situation where conflict between members of the public and the local authorities in Odessa was turned into a conflict between members of the public.

The protests against the erection of the monument to Catherine  were joined in July by protests against military exercises of Ukrainian and NATO forces entitled “Sea Breeze – 2007”. At the application of the Odessa City Executive Committee, the Prymorsky District Court in Odessa banned “any individuals, legal entities or civic organizations from holding rallies in the centre of the city. It’s interesting to note that the entire population of Ukraine which the court prohibited from gathering in Odessa was not even informed that anyone plans to limit their constitutional rights, and were not invited for this reason to the court which procedural norms require. In one case for 18 days (from 5 July) and in another – 12 days (from 14 September) in the “free city by the sea” (as literature named Odessa) the rule was in force that “no more than three people may gather”.

On 6 November around a thousand Kyiv police employees began enforcing a court order on removing constructions erected by Crimean Tatars[11] on Mount Ay-Petri which belongs to the territory of the city of Yalta. These buildings were constructed on land sites seized by Crimean Tatars after their return to their homeland. The problem of distributing land in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea and the problem of the rights of the Crimean repatriants are examined separately.

While with regard to our subject, it is worth noting that the Head of the Crimean Parliament Anatoly Hryshchenko approved the demolition of the self-styled buildings and stated that resistance to the demolition had been shown by “radically inclined” Crimean Tatars. At the same time the Crimean Tatar civic organizations “Fellow Villager” [“Koideshper”] which had in fact shown resistance to police officers on 6 November stated that land disputes in the Crimea were being made more difficult by the excessive corruption of Crimean officialdom. According to the Head of the organization “Ibrahim the Military”, “Crimean officials have become immersed in corruption as regards land relations.

As a result of scuffles between the police and Crimean Tatars, more than twenty repatriants were detained (according to a report from the Centre for Public Liaison of the Chief Department of the MIA for the Crimea. Those detained received administrative punishments. However reports of the use of guns both by the Crimean Tatars, and the police, did not receive a proper reaction from representatives both of the Crimean authorities and Crimean police, as well as from Crimean Tatar organizations. Whatever the situation, we know of a person who received a serious gunshot wound to the legal during the above-mentioned events.

Unfortunately the management of the MIA refused to create any kind of commission, including with the participation of members of civic organizations in order to investigate the incident on AI-Petri. However, in our view, the creation of such a commission would be of significance at least on the grounds that the actions of the Crimean Tatars have lasted until the present time and will undoubtedly continue  under the final resolution of the land issue on the peninsula. Perhaps the most important result of the work of this body would lead to recommendations on averting conflicts similar to that on AI-Petri.

On 16 November the First Deputy Head of the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov accused the local authorities of obstructing protest actions by the Crimean Tatars. He said that on 9 November the Executive Committee of the Simferopol City Council had received notification of mass protest actions on the central square of the city. According to his information, a hearing of the Zaliznichny District Court in Simferopol had taken place that same day and had allowed the application by the City Council to prohibit the protests. He added that the Crimean Tatars suspect the judges who prohibited the erection of tents on the square outside the Council of Ministers of the Autonomy of being biased, since, for example, the representative of the Mejilis who had submitted notification of the planned action, had not been informed about the court hearing. “People simply stamped the ruling that the authorities wanted, absolutely not trying to understand the processes”, he said.[12]

Despite the opposition of the authorities, the tents began being erected on 7 November. They were dismantled by the Crimean Tatars themselves on 17 December when they decided to temporary suspend protest actions.

 

6. Recommendations

1.  Pass by Order of the Minister of the MIA and register with the Ministry of Justice “Method guidelines on safeguarding public order during mass-scale events and actions”.

2.  The MIA should systematically set up commissions with the participation of members of the public to investigate incidents during peaceful assembly arising with the involvement of the police. The results of such commissions should be made public.

3.  Carry out training of officers from special units and patrol squads of law enforcement agencies in the following: ensuring public order during peaceful gatherings; protecting those participating in peaceful gatherings; the grounds and conditions for using special means and physical force; ensuring independent control over how they use their authority during peaceful gatherings

4.  . Translate into Ukrainian the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms pertaining to the freedom of peaceful assembly and provide copies of these translations to all local and appellate administrative courts

5.  Taking into account case law of the European Court of Human Rights, prepare and run a training course for judges of local and appeal courts of all 27 regions of Ukraine as to applying Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights in court practice with regard to applications from the authorities to ban peaceful gatherings.

6.  The Supreme Court should summarize court rulings in cases involving restrictions on the right of peaceful gatherings and demonstrations.ї.

7.  Pass a draft law on holding peaceful gatherings drawn up by Ukrainian human rights organizations in which the case law of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and the positive practices in democratic countries are taken into consideration.

8.  Bodies of local self-government and public authorities should revoke any Regulations on rules and procedure for holding peaceful gatherings and using «small architectural forms» and bring other decisions into compliance with the Ukrainian Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine should appeal through court procedure such decisions of local authorities where the latter have failed to respond.

9.  The Human Rights Ombudsperson should pay more attention to infringements by local authorities and law enforcement agencies of the right to peaceful assembly.

10.  Organizers of peaceful gatherings are advised to use court procedure to complain against any rulings by first instance courts restricting freedom of peaceful gatherings, and also against illegal actions of law enforcement bodies. The Institute «Republic» and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union give such cases priority when providing legal assistance.



[1] Prepared by Volodymyr Chemerys, Institute “Respublica”

[2] See the section on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Human Rights in Ukraine - 2006.

[3]  Ibid, for a more detailed analysis of these Regulations

[4]Human rights activists win important case for freedom of assembly http://helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?print=1176280368

[5]  A more detailed analysis of this Decree can be found in last year’s report.

[6]  Spetsnaz forces deployed for a spontaneous gay procession in Kyiv  http://korrespondent.net.

[7] Міська влада Харкова не змогла заборонити проведення акцій в рамках Міжнародного дня захисту корінних народів світу // Сайт УГСПЛ, http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?id=1186657298.

[8] Суд відмовився обмежити політичні акції на Майдані // Сайт УГСПЛ, http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?id=1190719233.

[9] Як мирна хода заважала божевільним пожежним машинам // Портал „Права людини в Україні”, http://www.khpg.org/index.php?id=1194512550. Також надруковано в місцевій газеті «Вгору» 19 жовтня 2007 р.

[10] Севастопольський суд заборонив проведення 4 листопада „Русского марша” // Інформагентство „Уніан”, http:// human-rights.unian.net.

[11] The Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimea in 1944 and returned at the beginning of the 1990s.

[12] The authorities are obstructing mass protest actions by the Crimean Tatars // UNIAN information agency , http://human-rights.unian.net/ukr/detail/186292.

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