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11. FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL GATHERINGS

   


[1]

1. Introduction

Right to peaceful gatherings is guaranteed to the citizens of Ukraine by Article  39 of the Constitution of Ukraine. Article 11 of the Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Human Rights to which Ukraine is a party, imperatively define that any restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings are acceptable only in cases when they are “necessary in a democratic society”. Besides, Article 11 of the decision of the European Court is the source of the right in the national legal system. 

The Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine №4-rp/2001 of 19.04.01 rules that the determination of specific dates of advance notification and specific forms of peaceful gathering, their mass nature, venture, time etc are subject to legislative regulations.”  The same Decision defines the right to peaceful gathering as “inalienable and inviolable”, which is “one of the constitutional guarantees of civil right to freedom of ideology and conscience, thought and speech, right to freely express one’s opinions and convictions, to use and disseminate information, right to free development of one’s personality etc.”   

Monitoring of freedom of peaceful gatherings revealed a number of legislative regulatory and law application issues, as well as conditions which seriously affect the opportunity to practical exercising of the right to peaceful gatherings and, to a certain extent, pose a direct threat to the very essence of this right, restricting its contents and scope.

13 city councils of the oblast’ centers of Ukraine ( Kyiv, Vinnitsa, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Ivan-Frankivsk, Simferopol, Ternopyl, Kharkiv, Kherson, Cherkassy, Chernivtsy, Chernyhyv) are guided by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Rada of the USSR N 9306-XI of 28.07.88 “On the Order of organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street marches and manifestations in the USSR”. On 24.10.2011 the deputy Minister of Justice in his letter №15783-0-26-11/10.2 advised that the Decree is valid in Ukraine on the basis of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine Resolution №1545-XII of September 12, 1991 “On the Order of temporary validity of certain USSR legal acts on the territory of Ukraine”. This resolution, in particular, stipulates, that “before relevant legal acts of Ukraine are passed, the legal acts of the USSR are applicable with respect to the issues not regulated by the Ukrainian Law if they are not contrary to the Constitution and laws of Ukraine”.

The Decree is contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine as it determines the  “licensing” nature of the peaceful gatherings and refers to non-existent state of the USSR, regulating the relations between non-existent citizens of the USSR by non-existent executive committees of the people’s deputies’ councils, evaluating the said gathering from the point of view of their conformity or non-conformity with Constitution of the USSR, constitutions of the union and autonomous republics”, i.e. non-existent constitutions of non-existent entities.  

It is the provisions of the Decree that cause the majority of court bans on peaceful gatherings in Ukraine.  

2. Statistics and terminology

Despite declarations made by both law enforcers and state officials that hundreds of thousands protest actions and rallies are conducted all over the country (V. Litvin, “160.000 actions in2011»[2]) we managed to get the accurate statistical data as to the number of the peaceful gatherings defined by Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The surveys conducted in all the city councils of the oblast’ centers, Kyiv and Sebastopol showed that in 2011 about 7.600 notifications on peaceful gatherings were submitted. Taking into account the rate of public activity outside oblast’ centers it gives us the annual figure of no more than 16.000 peaceful gatherings. The peaceful gatherings held without prior notification of the Ukrainian authorities were not numerous.

When asked to comment on 10-times difference in the statistical data,  PR Department of  the Ministry of Interior advised that it did not keep specific data on “ peaceful gatherings”, as there is no legal requirement to do so, while the statistics on so-called “mass events” covers religious, cultural, sports, artistic and other similar events[3].

The concerts, football matches and the like are not peaceful gatherings under Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine; therefore, we propose to base the statistical data on the number of notifications submitted the the authorities by the organizers, and not on the militia reports.   

Over the 9 months of the year 2012 we registered 78 instances of restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings[4], which were socially resonant. Not all the cases of restrictions were covered by mass media, due to the fact that in many regions of the country media are not free.  For comparison, in the year 2011 the courts passed only 113 rulings on the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings in the oblast’ centers. We expect that the number of similar rulings will increase significantly in 2012; in some cities, e.g. Kharkiv the bans have become all-embracing.  

3. Restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings imposed by local governments  

3.1. Local normative acts regulating organization and carrying out of the peaceful gatherings

Survey of the city councils of the oblast’ centers of Ukraine  showed that  12 city councils (in Dnepropetrovsk, Zhitomir, Zaporizhzhya, Kyiv, Lutsk, Poltava, Rivne, Simferopol, Sumy, Uzhgorod, Kharkiv, Kherson) or their executive committees  have adopted their own normative acts on the order of organizing and holding peaceful gatherings.

However, under Article 144.1 of the Constitution of Ukraine ‘the local self-governance bodies make decisions obligatory for implementation in the given territory, within the terms of their references defined by the law”.  Under sub-paragraph 3, p. 1 “а” Article 38 of the Law of Ukraine “On local self-governance” №280/97-SР of 21.05.97 “the issues of conducting gatherings, meetings, rallies, manifestations and demonstrations, sports events, shows and other mass events in compliance with the law; enforcing public law and order in the course of these eventsfall under the competences of the executive bodies of local councils.      Currently Ukraine has no law ( or other legal act) regulating the  issues of conducting gatherings, meetings, rallies, manifestations and demonstrations etc, while Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine provides for the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings by courts only in compliance with the law, and not by the local self-governance bodies.   

Therefore, sub-paragraph 3, p. 1 “а” of Article 38 of the Law of Ukraine “On local self-governance” does not grant to the city council (or its executive body) the authority to legally regulate the conducting of peaceful gatherings – due to the absence of the law which would govern these issues. Today the the local self-governance bodies can only appeal to court to seek restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings.

Besides, under p. 1 of Article 92.1 of the Constitution of Ukraine “civil and individual rights and freedoms, guarantees of these rights and freedoms; main obligations of the citizens are determined by laws exclusively”.

Therefore, neither Constitution nor any laws of Ukraine vest city councils (or their executive committees) with the authority to pass such decisions, and, generally, to interfere into the domain of constitutional and legislative regulation. Under Article 19.2 of the Constitution of Ukraine the state power bodies and local self-governments, their officials must act only on the basis, within the scope of authority and in the ways stipulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine”.  Therefore, such decisions go beyond the boundaries of legitimate competences granted to local self-governments and are illegal beyond any doubt.

Alongside with their illegal adoption, practically all the local normative acts contain anti-constitutional provisions with respect to the time frames for the notifications on peaceful gatherings, bestow on organizers and participants of the said gatherings obligations not stipulated either by the Constitution or the laws of Ukraine, limit the area of potential gatherings.

With all that said, in April 2012 we approached the Prosecutor’s office with the request to verify the legality of the decisions made by the local self-governments. As a result, the Prosecutor’s offices of Lutsk[5], Zaporizhzhya[6] and Kherson[7] contested respective decisions; the offices in Simferopol and Zhitomir reported that respective decisions were cancelled by the courts. In Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Sumy, Kharkiv the communications with the Prosecutor’s offices with respect to city councils’ decisions still go on.  

We got in touch with Ternopyl city council regarding the illegality of intended “Provisions with respect to peaceful public acts in Ternopyl”.  The deputy mayor notified us by the letter №3778/05 of 20.06.12 that “the requirements are duly noted and will be taken into account”.

The petition requesting  to recognize the Supreme Rada of Ukraine Resolution №1545-XII of September 12, 1991 “On the Order of temporary validity of certain USSR legal acts on the territory of Ukraine” as illegal and invalid in the part where the USSR legal acts define rights and obligations of the Ukrainian citizens (i.e. affecting the nature and scope of these rights) was submitted to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. The Highest Administrative Court of Ukraine did not consider the petition on the grounds of statute of limitations. On 22.06.12 a complaint was sent to the European Court on Human Rights with reference to the violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“right to fair trial”) by Ukraine. 

 

3.2. Practice of administrative restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings

Local self-governance bodies all over Ukraine pass decisions illegally restricting the right to peaceful gatherings. 

Thus, in Krasnograd, Kharkiv oblast’ the city council forbade religious meetings in the open and limited the peaceful gatherings in the city center to holidays and memorial days only[8], although the official statistics shows that only 5 gatherings a year occur in the city. This decision was contested by the Prosecutor’s office.

In Yenakiyevo (Donetsk oblast’) on the verge of the football championship EURO2012, in June 2012 the city council declared moratorium on mass events and meetings “in order to prevent mass events and protest actions”.[9]

The executive committee of Brovary city council by its decision№ 394 of 21.08.2012 ruled that all the peaceful gatherings in the city should be held in one location only.[10]

3.3. Refusal to register the notifications on peaceful gatherings

Some local self-governments simply refuse to register the notifications on coming actions. E.g. in Simferopol[11] or Odessa, where the city council rejected the notification on group physical exercises claiming that organizers were “unauthorized”[12]. Similar cases were registered in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Donetsk.

3.4. Specifics of the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings in Kharkiv

Kharkiv is the leader with respect to the number of court decisions banning peaceful gatherings. Over the year the city council refused to provide figures concerning the number of petitions referring to the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings, even after repeated appeals to the Prosecutor’s office. Finally statistical data for 2010, 2011 and first half of 2012 together were obtained from the oblast’ Department of Interior. The city authorities appealed to the court 52 times in total. For comparison – in 2011 Kyiv authorities filed 21 claims with court, while in Kyiv they receive three times more notifications on peaceful gatherings than in Kharkiv.

E.g. on 6.09.2012 at 2:00 pm the city council filed a petition concerning the banning of peaceful gathering which was to be held by “Svoboda” all-Ukrainian association in support of TVi Channel, and at 2:02 the judge I.Nurulayev already instigated the proceedings on the case. At 2:08 the respondent I.Shvaika was informed by phone that the case would be heard by the court at 3:00. The court ruled in favor of the authorities[13].

In the week between August 9 and August 16, 2012 the local authorities of Kharkiv submitted and “won” 5 claims on banning the protest action in support of the Ukrainian language, with the attendance rate not exceeding 20 persons. When it became clear that the participants of the protest actions simply changed the venue of the gathering to evade the court’s ruling, they were fined for the alleged violation of public areas regulation – i.e.causing  damage to the grass lawn, committed by someone else.   

The utility companies’ employees stole the protesters’ property twice. The protesters twice became victims of the assaults, which occurred after militia officers have left the protest venue.  The law enforcement bodies and local authorities passed no judgment on these assaults.  

The steps taken in Kharkiv to ban peaceful gatherings are the concentrated manifestations  of the processes going on in the whole country.

4. Court bans on peaceful gatherings

The imperfections and lack of consistency in everyday practices of the administrative courts in Ukraine in considering the petitions from the authorities on the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings are evident (Article 182 of the Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine). 

In violation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which reads that any restriction of the right to peaceful gatherings can occur only when it is “necessary in a d democratic society”, and a range of Decisions passed by the European Court on Human Rights, which define the exceptional nature of such restrictions, the Ukrainian courts in  2010 after investigations satisfied  83%  of all the claims filed by the local authorities with respect to banning of peaceful gatherings, while in 2011 this figure amounted to 88%.  Moreover, we are aware that the majority of “restrictions” mean complete banning of peaceful gatherings, although the European Court on Human Rights many a time classified such banning as violation of Article 11.

Often the courts passing decisions which ban peaceful gatherings refer to the illegal (as shown above) local “customs” and “provisions” with regards to peaceful gatherings, instead of referring to Article.39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Human Rights, as well as the practices of the European Court on Human Rights.

It is a common practice to hold the hearings on these cases in the evenings or at night, without due notification of the respondents or providing them with the chance to properly prepare to the hearing on the case instigated by the authorities.

The lack of efficient (prior to the date of the peaceful gathering) appeal procedure on the rulings concerning restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings.  

4.1. Data from the Unified Registry of the court decisions

As of the first half of 2012[14]  the courts passed only 8 rulings in favor of the peaceful gatherings’ organizers on 106 claims filed by the local administrations and local self-governance bodies (92, 5%). For comparison, in 2011, 203 decisions have been registered and 89.4% of them satisfied the authorities’ requests. In the second half of 2012 the number of courts’ bans increased (due to the “Language Maidan” and election meetings). 29 out of 106 claims were filed in Kharkiv; all of them were satisfied. The quoted data cannot be considered complete as not all the court decisions are entered into the Unified Registry.    

4.2. Territorial aspect

According to the official responses received from the city councils of the oblast’ centers, the largest number of notifications on the peaceful gatherings are filed in Kyiv (24% out of 7700 in 2011), Lviv (10%), and Kharkiv (6%). The rayon centers receive, on the average, 6 notifications per year. As  to the ratio between the number of notifications and the size of population, Lutsk ranks first (2 per 1000 residents), with Simferopol and Lviv ranking second  (1 per 1000 residents).  In other cities this ration is lesser than 1.

4.3. The grounds for the court banning of peaceful gatherings

Most often the courts use the following justifications as the grounds for the banning:

1.  Breaches of local order established for peaceful gatherings.  

2.  Simultaneous counter-meeting often fabricated only to justify the necessary ruling. The courts then ban both meetings.  

3.  The claim that “Gatherings obstruct fairs, shows etc”.

4.  “Failure to ensure public law and order”.

5.  Potential damage to public use areas.

6.  Potential traffic jams.

7.  “Interfere with rest and leisure of other people”.

8.  “Not everyone shares the views expressed by the organizers”.

For example, Zhitomir circuit administrative court banned a meeting on the grounds that “City residents and guests with children visit central area of the city for leisure, and the “protect TVi” rally might cause their negative reaction and justified resentment”[15].

Cherkassy circuit administrative court forbade any political actions in Soborna Square in the city center between July 16 and September 10 claiming that the “residents want a fair”.[16].

4.4. Special cases  

At the time of elections to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine some local councils started to treat meetings of the candidates with their electorate as “peaceful gatherings” and tried to ban them under any pretext. Allegedly due to the counter-meetings the court banned a an opposition candidate’s meeting with the voters in Chernyhyv on 01.10.2012[17], in the settlement Kominternivske, Odessa oblast’ on 15.08.2012[18].

On 13.10.2012 in Kharkiv the court banned A.Yatsenyuk’s meeting with voters under the pretext that the Liberty Square is a recreation site for the city dwellers, and the meeting can become a public nuisance. Meanwhile, the CPU and Party of Regions’ rallies were held in the Square without any hindrances.  The court decision read that “holding a meeting directed against the authority is not possible”. The action was prohibited for “other participants” as well.[19].

The new Language law passed by the Supreme Rada on July 3 became another source for rally activities for the 9 months of 2012.  The protest actions swept over dozens of Ukrainian cities. The peaceful gatherings were banned by the courts in Kharkiv, Donetsk,  Brovary, Simferopol, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Cherkassy, and Kyiv[20]. In Kyiv the court ruling read “ Restrict the right to peaceful gatherings by means of prohibiting citizen Toruba V.M. and other subjects, who exercise their right to peaceful gatherings, from conducting any actions between July  4 and 9  2012 near the Supreme Rada, Presidential Administration, Cabinet of Ministers’ buildings, center for business and cultural cooperation “Ukrainian house” and in the European Square ”[21].

In Kharkiv the protests against the Language law were banned by the court 6 times. In all the cases the court never allowed the respondents to come up with the defense and disregarded any respondents’ arguments. In 2 cases out of 6 the respondents were not even informed about the hearing.  [22] [23] [24] [25].

5. Violation of the freedom to peaceful gatherings by the law-enforcement bodies.

5.1. “Sanctioned ” and “non-sanctioned” mass events

The Order of the Ministry of Interior №404 of 28.07.94 established the By-laws for the militia patrols of Ukraine (hereinafter – “The By-laws”)  which defines ”main tasks,  the order of organization and tasks of militia patrol and point-duty service”  and is obligatory for “ all the staff of the ministry and departments of interior in charge of public order and safety in public places”.  

As of today a set of provisions of the Section XV of the Bylaws  (“Protection of public order and safety in the course of mass events”) is contrary to the legal acts of higher judicial order.

а) Definition of the categories of “ peaceful gatherings”  (pp. 331-336), as meetings, rallies, demonstrations, street marches, picketing. These definitions are spelt in Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, and only the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has the authority of its official interpretation. The Ministry of Interior does not have the competence to interpret the definitions found in the Fundamental Law (as it is tantamount to the interpretation of  the constitutional norms).    

b) Time frame for submitting notifications on peaceful gatherings ( 10 days, as per p. 337).

Meanwhile:

- Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine does not contain any restrictions as to the time frames for notifications to be submitted by the public with regards to peaceful gatherings  Under the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine №4-rp/2001 of 19.04.01 determining exact time frames for advance notifications  <...>Is the matter of legal regulations” – but the Ministry of Interior is not a legislative body and is not vested with authority to define any time frame. 

Besides, the same p. 337 of the Bylaws mentions the possibility to “ban” a peaceful action. Without a  special clause that such ban can be imposed by the court only (Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine) this provision poses a threat as the law-enforcers might conclude that they have the authority to ban any meetings.

c) P. 338 of the By-laws reads that “an actual conducting of a meeting, non-sanctioned by the local state executive bodies can be the reason for stopping gatherings, rallies, street marches and demonstrations; decision concerning banning (stopping) of the event as it violates the order of its organizing and holding [can be passed]”.   This statement contradicts the provisions of the aforementioned  Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which determines that the restrictions on peaceful gatherings can be imposed by court only under the current law and stipulates not random but departmental principle of holding meetings.  

d) Similarly, pp. 339 and 340 of the By-laws mentioned some “sanctioned” and “non-sanctioned” mass events, with p. 340 establishing the rules  for the militia officers’ operation with respect to the “non-sanctioned” meetings – including the possibility of detaining the “organizers or active participants”, while the context allows for interpretation of “breach of public order” or/and “unlawful actions” as attendance of “non-sanctioned” meetings or their organization.  It contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine) which does not establish an obligation to seek “sanctions” for exercising public rights.   

Summing up: the aforementioned norms of the Bylaws do not comply with Article 19.1 and 19.2 of the Constitution of Ukraine or with the competences of the Ministry of Interior, defined in the Law “On Militia” and enforce restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings not stipulated by Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine). These restrictions apparently   cannot be described as “necessary in a democratic society”  (p.2  Article11 of the Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms).

5.2. "Isolated protests"

Inadequate official response to the “isolated protests” is another problem, brought to life by the deficient legal regulations and law-enforcers’ training. Thus, in Lviv, militia officers detained a person who “without advance notice was displaying a poster in a public area”) (the letter  of Chief Department of the Ministry of Interior in Lviv oblast’ №С-4/31 of  14.02.12[26]); a protocol accusing her of an administrative offense under Article 185-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Infringements (“Violation of the order for organizing and holding gatherings, meetings, street marches and demonstrations”) was written.  However, Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine requires prior notification on “peaceful gatherings’ while behavior and actions of a single individual irrespectively of what he/she carries, can by no means be considered “ a gathering”.

That’s why we approached the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine demanding that militia officials are properly instructed on these matters. The only response we got was that our proposal “will be considered in devising the Bylaws on enforcing public order and patrol and point-duty service”.

5.3. Use of plain-clothes law enforcers  

Within the context of the newly prepared normative act of the Ministry of Interior on enforcing public order we insist on banning the practice of using plain-clothes militia officers to safeguard public order during peaceful gatherings ( and before the implementation of court decisions on the restrictions of peaceful gatherings). On the one hand, this practice does not help in ensuring appropriate behavior and responsibility of the said officers ( as was demonstrated in the course of the protest action against the demolition of the buildings in St.Andrew’s descent in Kyiv[27]), while on the other, it is disorienting for the peaceful gatherings’ participants, as provokes them to actively oppose the illegal actions of the persons who (in their judgment) cannot be recognized as militia officers performing their duties. The legal regulation of this matter is also advisable.  

5.4. Law-enforcers’ interference with the goal of preventing citizens from attending the peaceful gatherings

The most outrageous interference occurred in Zaporizhzhya on 26.06.12: the militia prohibited the action in support of the victims of torture claiming that the accusation of torture is slanderous.[28]

Militia officials often demand “permits” from the meetings’ organizers. Thus, on  17.06.2012 in Kharkiv, during zoo-protection action a protocol was written under   Article 185-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Infringements (“Violation of the order for organizing and holding gatherings, meetings, street marches and demonstrations”) on the grounds that the organizers, according to militia staff did not have “the permit” to carry out the meeting. The court classified organizers’ actions as the breach of the Article 185-1 and issued a warning[29].

5.5. Unjustified stopping of peaceful gatherings and detaining of their participants by the militia officials

On 03.07.2012 in the Liberty Square (Kharkiv) militia detained the protesters using force[30].

On 1.07.2012 the action “Human rights in an offside” was to be held in Kyiv. However, its organizer was detained by militia. The Ministry of Interior by way of explanation advised that Kyiv State Administration filed a petition with court to restrict the peaceful gatherings in the area adjacent to “Olimpiyski” stadium for two organizations “…and others as well”.[31]

The most violent rout was organized by the militia against the tent-town residents protesting against the Language law in Cherkassy on 06.07.2012. The ratio between the number of the protesters and law-enforcers was 3 to 30. In response to our request militia officials stated that the detainees were provided with medical assistance.  

6. State monitoring of the peaceful gatherings

Under subparagraph 9, p.4 of the Standard bylaws for the departments of interior and public relations in the oblast’ state administration (Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine №128 of 05.03.08) these departments are vested with authority to monitor the peaceful gatherings. However, the survey focused on the methods and results of this monitoring showed complete lack of system and transparency in this activity. Only Poltava oblast’ state administration provided the monitoring results, while not a single oblast ‘state administration could explain the methods used in the monitoring, and some unambiguously stated that neither methods nor respective normative acts   were in place. Moreover, despite the statement from Donetsk oblast’ state administration that monitoring results are submitted to the Administration of the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the said authorities negated any collection or analysis of such data.  

Therefore, as under Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine the state power bodies and their officials must act only on the basis, within the competences and in the ways stipulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, so far the monitoring activity of the oblast’ state administrations remains outside the legal field, i.e. has no goal or order determined by legal norms. Lack of public awareness with respect to this activity is contrary to the norms of publicity and transparency of state authority.

7. Civil society and peaceful gatherings

A draft law №2450 “On peaceful gatherings”, which caused debates among public activists is still to be considered by the Supreme Rada. Some of the activists supported the amended draft, while others claim that it will annihilate the possibility of peaceful gatherings. Over the year the hearing on this draft law has been postponed three times.  Finally the Supreme Rada rejected a related law on diminishing the liability for the breach of the peaceful gatherings’ order and on the introducing respective changes into some laws, and postponed the hearing on the draft law  №2450 indefinitely

8.Recommendations[32]

1.  The Supreme Rada of Ukraine should officially recognize the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Rada of the USSR N 9306-XI of 28.07.88 “On the Order of organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street marches and manifestations in the USSR” as invalid in Ukraine (irrespective of adopting a special law on peaceful gatherings) and make its application impossible to the state authorities and local self-governance bodies.

2.  The Supreme Rada of Ukraine should  immediately amend the Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine with the provisions aimed at ensuring the right to efficient appeals against court decisions directed at the restriction of right to peaceful gatherings. 

3.  The Supreme Rada of Ukraine should legislatively ban the involvement  of plain-clothed law-enforcement officers in the peaceful gatherings to ensure public order.

4.  The Ministry of Interior of Ukraine should immediately introduce changes to the by-laws of patrol and point-duty service of the militia of Ukraine to harmonize it with Article  19 of the Constitution of Ukraine and the Ministry of Interior competences defined by the Law of Ukraine “On militia”.

5.  Local councils and prosecutor’s offices should cancel all the local orders and provisions regulating peaceful gatherings. 

6.  The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine should provide official interpretation of the law concerning isolated protests. 

7.  In compliance with p. 3 of the Resolution of  the Plenum of the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine №6 of 21.05.12[33]  the Court should summarize the existing judicial practices and approve the Plenum Resolution “ On judicial practice of hearing and ruling over the cases concerning the right to peaceful gatherings  by administrative courts”, in particular, taking into account unacceptability of court restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings for unspecified group of people ( “…and all other persons”).

8. The Supreme Rada of Ukraine in its law-making activity should take into account NGOs’ proposals on protection of the right to peaceful gatherings, spelt in their Joint Declaration[34].

 

 

[1] Prepared by N.Zubar and O.Severyn, NGO Information Center “Maidan-Monitoring”. See more on: http://maidanua.org/monitor/page/index/1

[2] Litvin: 160 thousand protest actions happened in the course of a year. http://news.dt.ua/

[3] How many peaceful gatherings are held in Ukraine? http://maidan.org.ua/

[4] Freedom of peaceful gatherings  on “Maidan-Monitoring” map
http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/?c=1

[5] It is easier to hold peaceful gatherings  - in Lutsk only Мирно збиратися стане вільніше. Поки що – лише у Луцьку http://maidan.org.ua/

[6] Illegal decision of Zaporizhzhya local authorities on peaceful gatherings contested http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/279

[7] Peaceful gatherings  should become easier to hold in Kherson too http://maidan.org.ua/

[8] Ban on religious meetings in the open  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/10

[9] In Yenakiyevo a moratorium on protest actions was issued prior to EURO-2012 http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/217

[10]Brovary city council by its decision№ 394 of 21.08.2012 ruled that all the peaceful gatherings in the city should be held in one location only http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/273

[11] On peaceful gatherings in Simferopol  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/264

[12] Odessa city council banned…morning exercises just in case http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/205

[13] In Kharkiv the operation of Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine is safely blocked! http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/276

[14] Registry of administrative courts decisions on the claims re peaceful gatherings for 2012  (Center for political and legal reforms ) http://www.cppr.org.ua/index.php/-12/586

[15] TVi supported in Zhytomir is banned too.  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/277

[16] The Court banned political actions on Soborna square in Cherkassy http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/237

[17] The Court banned peaceful gathering of “Bat’kivshchyna” in Chernyhyv on 01.10.2012 http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/288

[18] The Court forbade opposition’s meetings with voters in Kominternivske http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/261

[19] Authorities banned Yatsenyuk’s rally in Kharkiv by court decision http://maidanua.org/vybory2012/reports/view/1373

[20] Banning and restriction of “language” protests http://maidan.org.ua/2012/07/mova-pro-test-na-svobodu-myrnyh-zibran/

[21] The Court banned peaceful gathering  between July 4 and Yanukovich’s birthday  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/212

[22] http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/109

[23] The Court banned Language Maidan in Kharkiv  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/252

[24] The Court bans language protests in Kharkiv  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/258

[25] The Court once again banned language protest near Shevchenko monument  in Kharkiv  http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/262

[26] Request re “isolated protest” left Lviv militia dumbfounded. http://maidan.org.ua//

[27] SAM activists seek punishment for the militia officer whe beat a girl near Akhmetov’s office http://palm.newsru.ua/ukraine/14apr2012/sam.html

[28] In Zaporizhzhya the protest in support of torture victims was banned. http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/202

[29] Zoo-defendant  will go on trial for peaceful gatherings without permits http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/193

[30] The tents on Kharkiv Maydan lasted 1.5 hours. Militia detained the protesters. http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/211

[31] Nazariy Boyarskiy taken into custody during protest action in support of Ales Belyatsky http://maidanua.org/monitor/reports/view/207

[32] Appeal to the authorities with recommendations for changes http://maidan.org.ua/

[33] The Resolution of  the Plenum of the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine №6 of 21.05.12 “On Practice of applying the law by the administrative courts in the hearings on rights to peaceful gatherings (meetings, rallies, marches, demonstratios etc. )” http://www.vasu.gov.ua/

[34] Joint Declaration on the right to peaceful gatherings.  http://maidan.org.ua/2012/09/spilna-zayava-hromadskyh-orhanizatsij-schodo-zahystu-svobody-myrnyh-zibran-v-ukrajini/

 

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