Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions wins almost four UAH and removal of a sentence from UHHRU
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union in an article entitled (in the Ukrainian “UHHRU the victim of court proceedings launched by the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions
http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1225202409 informed that the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions [the Federation had filed a suit with the court against the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Ukraine [NCTU] and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
The grounds for the suit against UHHRU were the fact that the human rights site had published an OPEN appeal from the NCTU with the heading: “National Confederation of Trade Unions accuses the Federation of Trade Unions of corruption”.
The Federation demanded that the information which was contained in the NCTU appeal be declared defamatory. It also sought 10 thousand UAH in moral compensation and recall of the appeal to the President.
On 14 January UHHRU received the judgment from the Kyiv Economic Court ordering it to publish a retraction of one sentence from the NCTU appeal, and also payment of State duty of 1 UAH 66 kopecks (considerably less than 1 USD – translator) and expenses for information and technical back-up of the court hearing to the sum of 2 UAH 31 kopecks.
UHHRU was represented in court by the well-known bar lawyer Viacheslav Yakubenko, who gave the following comments on the court judgment:
“The judgment from the Kyiv Economic Court is like that of Solomons. The court listened to our view and agreed that a considerable part of the statement at issue had contained value judgments like “unsatisfactory catering”, “cold rooms”, “milking profits”, “machinations to get hold of State property”. Such phrases are simply impossible to either prove or refute, since each contains somebodys idea of what “cold” or “satisfactory” is. Article 471 of the Law “On information” directly states that “nobody can be held liable for expressing value judgments.” A whole number of precedents from the European Court of Human Rights maintain that value judgments may even be shocking or offensive, if there is a factual base for this. Out of over thirty sentences which the Federation demanded be retracted, the court found only one fragment inaccurate. – about a two-week tour by Federation employees to America on trade union money. One has a mixed impression over this. On the one hand the judgment is correct, since that is already not a value judgment, but an assertion of a purported fact, which for unclear reasons the NCTU did not even try to prove in court. Clearly the UHHRU, in publishing this statement from the Head of the NCTU assumed that the head of a well-known trade union organization was an adult who could, if required, back his words.”