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8. Freedom of peaceful gatherings

[1]

1.    Introduction

No substantial changes have been introduced to the legislative and normative basis regulating    citizens’ right to peaceful gatherings over the year 2013 . The relevant legislation was described in our annual report for the year 2012[2].

The decision of the European Court for Human Rights on “Varentsov vs. Ukraine” case was passed in 2013[3]. The Court recognized that a structural problem dating back to the Soviet times and related specifically to the lack of respective regulations on freedom of gatherings was still persisted in Ukraine.

 “The Court proposed that Ukraine immediately reforms it legislation and administrative practice to set up the  requirements to organize and conduct peaceful manifestations and the grounds for their restrictions” – stipulated the Court.

Similar decision was passed in the case “Shmushkovich vs. Ukraine”[4]. In both decisions the ECHR pointed out the invalidity of the old soviet legislation and need for legal guarantees of the peaceful gatherings in Ukraine.  

The draft law # 2450 “On Peaceful Gatherings” remained under Supreme Rada consideration till spring, when it has been removed from the agenda. No answer was provided to our official request for explanation, submitted to the profile committee of the Supreme Rada.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Rada registered two other draft laws “On Freedom of Peaceful Gatherings” #2508 and #2508-1. The former was devised with the help of “For Freedom of Peaceful Gatherings” partnership[5]. The majority of provisions reflecting our stand[6] on this draft law were taken into account in #2508. The latter draft law is not essentially different from the former. While this report was being compiled, neither draft has been considered at the Supreme Rada hearings.

2. Statistic data  

In early 2013 we carried out a survey[7] covering the councils of 567 cities and urban settlements in Ukraine. We received feedback from 492 councils. According to the answers obtained, 16392 gatherings took place in 406 cities of Ukraine in 2012 (therefore, our assessment of the number of meetings as of 10-04-2012[8] proved very accurate).

The answers revealed that in 2012:

Unlawful local “regulations” concerning peaceful gatherings were applied in 90 cities;

The authorities of 65 cities approached courts seeking the banning of peaceful gatherings;

In 199 the authorities were using the legal act of the non-existent totalitarian state of the USSR (i.e. the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR # 9306-XI of 28.07.88 «On procedure for organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street manifestations and demonstrations in the USSR”).  205 city councils did not use this document. The rest avoided direct answer.  

The authorities of 48 cities established the age-related restrictions on participation in peaceful gatherings.

In 86 not a single peaceful gathering was organized over the year.

In 12 cities the use of posters, banners, flags etc was prohibited.  

The small towns with population about 10-100 thousands of residents proved most active in terms of peaceful gatherings. Activity was lesser in places where the court rulings banned rallies and meetings thus performing the role of demotivator.   

The militia data on the number of “mass events” still does not correlate with the city councils’ data on the number of notifications concerning peaceful gatherings.  

Over the year 2013 we registered 61 instances of most evident restrictions of peaceful gatherings on our interactive map. For the sake of comparison – 93 instances of this nature have been registered over the whole year of   2012. For the second year in a row the largest number of peaceful gatherings’ bans fall upon the month of July.  However, the violations committed at the end of the year with respect to Euromaidan in Kiev were not only more numerous, but also more brutal than before.

The majority of notifications on the peaceful gatherings’ bans in 2013 come from Kyiv.  

3. Restriction of right to peaceful gatherings by the local authorities

3.1. Local normative acts regulating the procedure for organizing and conducting peaceful gatherings.

Our research established that  199 out of 567 city and settlement councils in Ukraine, including 12 ( 13 in the year 2012) municipal councils of the oblast’ centers of Ukraine (Vinnitsa, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Sumy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Cherkassy, Chernivtsy) are still using the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR # 9306-XI of 28.07.88 «On procedure for organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street manifestations and demonstrations in the USSR”).   

Certain self-governance bodies justify the use of the said decree, referring to the letter of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine of 16.11.09 #1823-0-1-09-18. Therefore we proposed the Ministry of Justice to renounce or to cancel the aforementioned letter officially. Unfortunately, our request has been disregarded.   

Some local self-governance bodies advised that addressing the issues of peaceful gatherings they used the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Ukr.SSR “On urgent measures aimed at strengthening the legality and order in the republic” of 29.11.90, the paragraph 3 of which stipulated the need for special permission to carry out any peaceful gatherings “in the hours off work, days off and in the specially designated locations”.

In Pershotravensk (Dnipropetrovsk oblast’) local bodies of power used the said resolution in their decision of 2011 on adopting “The regulations concerning mass events”[9]. The provisions contained, among others, the following passage” mass violations of the work discipline, non-sanctioned rallies and demonstrations, picketing, desecration and defilement of   the monuments and memorial sites dedicated to the October Revolution are among the negative factors affecting law and order and internal security of the state”.

So far an official list of the former USSR legal acts which are still in force under the Resolution of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine #1545-XII of 1991, which restrict the right of the Ukrainian citizens to be aware of their rights and obligations, are contrary to the fundamental principle of the legal determination, violate the right to information, lead to misunderstandings in administrative and court practices, has not been compiled. Our requests submitted to the Ministry of Justice and President of Ukraine were not answered, and no list is available to the public. In 2012 the Highest Administrative Court of Ukraine failed to consider the petition on recognizing the aforementioned Resolution invalid, so that a complaint on the violation of Article 6 of the European Court for Human Rights (“right to fair trial”) had to be filed.

3.2. Non-justified intervention of the local self-governance bodies

In early 2013,  90 settlements out of   492 oblast’ and rayon centers and oblast’ subordination cities (18%) were using local “by-laws” and “ orders” passed by the local self-government bodies or their executive bodies with respect to organizing and conducting peaceful gatherings. The entire list can be seen on the map[10].

Apart from conceptual illegality of the said documents addressed in detail in 2012 report, virtually all local acts and norms contain anticonstitutional provisions on the term of notification for the peaceful gatherings, anticonstitutional and illegal requirements towards organizers and participants, restrictions   in terms of venues, time frames, age and number of the organizers, restrictions in the freedom of expression by way of banning the use of loudspeakers, posters, banners etc. In Berezhany (Ternopyl oblast’) a totally outrageous requirement was put forward: the meeting organizers were obliged to “make a contribution to a special fund”[11].

The local orders and procedures feature the following:

Only the citizens of age 18 or older can participate in mass events, in the opinion of city councils of   48 administrative centers of Ukraine (age-based restrictions),

Banners and slogans are to be approved by the executive committee– 12 city councils (restriction of the right of freedom of expression linked to the right to peaceful gatherings), 

At least three persons should be the organizers of peaceful gathering– 10 city councils (restrictions by number of participants),

Ban on loudspeakers use – 9 city councils (restriction of the right of freedom of expression linked to the right to peaceful gatherings,  

Special “permission” for a meeting– 3 city councils (the council of Dzershinsk town required that “the copy of the decisions on allowing the meeting is sent to the local National Security branch and Ministry of Interior branches in Donetsk oblast’ and the prosecutor’s office”;  the same request was formulated in Sverdlovsk as well),

The restrictions are justified by alleged lack of “space”. In Obukhiv specific size of the space to be used near official buildings, enterprises, institutions (in m) was established.  

The local orders are used at least in 3 cities, where the meetings have not been held at all in 2012. In an urban settlement Rozivka (Zaporizhzhya oblast’) with 3537 residents, no gatherings have been held since 2002, according to the city council data. The city council, meanwhile, designated the local airfield as the only place for public gatherings.[12]

3.3. Communications with the prosecutor’s office with respect to banning local orders

In 2013 we suggested the Prosecutor General Office ensures the adequate response from the prosecutor’s offices of the settlements, where local self-governments have exceeded their legal terms of reference and committed the violations of the right to peaceful gatherings.   

Under the law, the prosecutor’s office should respond to all requests. However, in practice the lack of such response has become a routine matter. The official data [13] testify that the prosecutor’s office provides responses to less than 2% of all public requests. In our case, though, only   9 municipal prosecutor’s offices out of   90 (i.e. 10%) failed to provide response so far.

As of November 9, 2013 the current situation with respect to our communications with the prosecutor’s offices concerning the restrictions of the right to peaceful gatherings can be summarized as follows:    

Order or provision invalidated

33

The prosecutor’s office submitted a motion on banning

21

Exchange of correspondence goes on

19

Rejection received

8

No answer

9

The communications will continue till complete banning of all the local orders is achieved. It is posted in the live-time regime on Maidan site. On the average one banning requires three rounds of letters exchange with the prosecutor’s office.  

3.4. Supreme Rada reaction

Prolonged communications with the Supreme Rada resulted in the removal of the “valid” status defining the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR # 9306“On the procedure of organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street manifestations and demonstrations in the USSR”.

The Supreme Rada staff advised that they shared our “concern with respect to the applicable legislation used by the local self-governance bodies in the issues of right to peaceful gatherings.”[14]

4. Court bans of peaceful gatherings

Under the data of the Uniform state register of the court decisions[15] 266 court rulings restricting the right to peaceful gatherings have been passed over the 11 months of 2013. As compared to the year 2012, this number has decreased   amounting to 313). Kharkiv oblast’ still ranks the first as to the number of banning decisions (35); Kharkiv courts made 100% of their decisions in favor of the power bodies, just like before.   Dnipropetrovsk oblast’  (21 bans), the ARC (21 bans) and Kyiv (18 bans) rank respectively second and third.

In 2013 the Ukrainian courts satisfied 83% of the authorities’ claims on the ban of peaceful gatherings, bringing the figures back to   2010 rate.

Year

% of the satisfied official claims

2010

83%

2011 

89%

2012

88%

2013

83%

In 2012 the local authorities of 65 administrative centers out of 492 filed the claims demanding banning of peaceful gatherings.   The court decisions restricting the right to peaceful gatherings were passed exclusively in the locations where the local orders are in force.     

This statistic shows the reverse correlation between the number of peaceful gatherings and the number of the claims filed by the authorities requesting restriction of the right to peaceful gatherings.

4.1. Administrative detentions under the article 185-1 of the Code of Administrative Infringements of Ukraine

In 2013 administrative detention was used against the peaceful gatherings’ organizers.    

On April 10, 2013 [16] four laypersons and TVi channel journalists were detained in Novy Petrivtsy (aka Mezhgirya – the place where Yanukovych’s residence is located). The detainees wanted to check whether the flood quoted as a pretext for banning “Democratic Alliance” meeting had really occurred. (No flood was detected). Kyiv circuit administrative court on the basis of article185-1 of the CAIU authorized administrative detention of Maxim Panov for the term of 7 days. Vasyl Hatsko and Andriy Bohdanovych had to pay administrative fines.  On April 13, 2013 [17] the head of “Democratic Alliance” Vasyl Hatsko was arrested for 5 days for organizing “Mezhgirya march”.

On July 22, 2013 [18] the organizer of Vradiyevka manifestation Vasyl Lyubarets was sentenced to 10 days in detention for alleged violation of the rules of peaceful gatherings.   His file also contained the clause prohibiting “other individuals” to participate in the rallies.  

Taking into account absence of relevant law regulating organization and carrying out of peaceful gatherings the use of article 185-1 of CAIU in the cases not involving the violations of the constitutional norm of the advance notification or peaceful nature of a gathering, is unjustified. 

4.2. Grounds for court bans of peaceful gatherings

 The new Note on studying and summarizing the practices of administrative courts with respect to the cases involving the realization of the right to peaceful gatherings over the years  2010 – 2011 (resolution of the Highest Administrative Court of Ukraine Plenum 6 of 21.05.12), which embraced some of our proposals from the last year, is definitely a positive development.

Paragraph  2 of the said Plenum resolution stipulated familiarization of the appellation and circuit administrative courts’ judges with the Note; therefore, we conducted a survey which revealed that Kirovograd circuit administrative court had never received the note; Vinnitsa circuit administrative court and Kharkiv appellation administrative court refused to answer. Zhitomir, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopyl and Cherkassy circuit administrative courts, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa appellation administrative courts provided no information.  

The court decisions contrary to legal stand of the Highest Administrative Court of Ukraine spelled out in the Note and to common sense, still can be registered. Sometimes the courts still apply the aforementioned “Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR # 9306-XI of 28.07.88».

Moreover, the decision of the Highest Administrative Court of Ukraine of 23.01.13 with respect to the claim filed by Kyiv state administration against the “Chernobyl Ukraina” Union”  stipulates that the local self-governance bodies have the competence to establish the terms of the notifications about peaceful gatherings.   

The ruling of Rivne circuit administrative court of April 16, 2013[19] deserves a special attention among all 2013 court rulings. It reads as follows: “The organizers of the event failed to comply with the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR “On the procedure of organizing and conducting meetings, rallies, street manifestations and demonstrations in the USSR”.     

Dnipropetrovsk circuit administrative court on March 21, 2013 [20] banned a picketing action near the oblast’ prosecutor’s office claiming that there was not enough space there. The court decision read: “There are no spaces near the prosecutor’s office which would safely and without hindrance accommodate certain number of people”.

The decision of Kyiv circuit administrative court[21], banning peaceful gathering on April 10, 2013 at Novy Petrivtsy settlement, close to the President’s residence, became a real masterpiece of the genre. The decision referred to the need of cleaning up the aftermath of the spring flooding at the meeting site and claimed that the action participants could infringe upon the villagers’ rights, i.e. the right to have their village cleaned.

In November Kharkiv court restricted the right to peaceful gatherings[22] supposedly with the aim of mitigating the spreading of contagious disease. Nevertheless, when a rally organized by the authorities was in order, the threat of contagious diseases suddenly disappeared and the decision was recalled. Since late November 2013 not a single rally has been banned in Kharkiv, while militia has diligently performed its duties of protecting peaceful gatherings in Euromaidan.[23]

On December 21, Rivne circuit administrative court banned a meeting which was to take place in front of Rivne oblast’ state administration[24], justifying its action by an order dating back to the soviet era, claiming that the planned action would hinder the work of the administration staff.

4.3. Specific cases

The shameful practice of restricting the rights to peaceful gatherings not only for the specific events’ organizers, but also for unidentified groups of individuals. (…and all other persons exercising their right to peaceful gatherings”) by court rulings still persists. It contradicts nearly each and every principle of the administrative justice, violates the right of the “other persons” to know about the restrictions imposed on their rights and deprives them of the opportunity to protect these rights.    

We asked the local self-governance bodies’ officials in all oblast’ centers, Kyiv and Sebastopol, whether they had recently filed any claims concerning the restriction of the right to peaceful gatherings for  unidentified groups of individuals, (referred to as “all other persons”, “other agents” etc.). All the documents are available here[25].  11 cases were registered in Dnipropetovsk over the years 2010-2013  and two cases – in Odessa. Vinnitsa, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk , Lutsk, Mykolaiv, Rivne, Kharkiv, Kherson, Cherkassy, Sebastopol reported unambiguously absence of such practices. Other cities failed to provide relevant answers.  

As far as Kyiv is concerned, the municipal state administration was offered a question: “Had city council

(The executive committee of the city council) over the years 2010-2013 filed any claims concerning the restriction of the right to peaceful gatherings for unidentified groups of individuals ((referred to as “all other persons”, “other agents” exercising their rights to peaceful gatherings etc.)? if so, how many claims had been filed?”  

Kyiv municipal state administration first tried to evade confrontation and then insisted that all the claims concerned “specific individuals”, although court rulings testify to the contrary.  

On February 28,   2013 [26] the circuit administrative court in Kyiv banned rallies in front of the Prosecutor General office for the term of one year. On June 13, 2013 [27] the same court established restrictions in exercising the right to peaceful gatherings (picketing, marches, demonstrations, rallies, meetings and other types of peaceful gatherings) with respect to specific subjects in Luteranska and Bankivska streets in Kyiv.       

On July 19, 2013 [28] the court forbade “UDAR”’s people’s deputy Serhiy Kaplin to organize and to hold any actions till the end of July. The court based its ruling on the fact that the celebrations of 1025th  anniversary of Rus-Ukraine Christianization were scheduled for the dates in question.

On July 12, 2013 [29] Ternopyl circuit administrative court banned all the actions dedicated to a Christian holiday.

 

On October 25, 2013 [30] the circuit administrative court of Odessa oblast’ on city council motion banned all the gatherings and similar actions in all the central areas of the city for two weeks.

The peaceful gatherings banned by the courts include not only the actions of protest, but even commemorative events, like memorial celebration in honor of Kruty heroes in Donetsk, a meeting commemorating the Crimean Tatars deportation, the Banner Day in Kharkiv, Independence Day in Odessa, marches celebrating UPA anniversary in Lviv.     

4.4.Violations of the freedom of peaceful gathering during Euromaidan   

The public protests known as Euromaidan, which started on November, 21, 2013 led to a number of arrests of their participants.  

In late November three Euromaidan organizers were sentenced to 5 days of administrative arrest[31], while observers pointed out inadequacy of the court proceedings.  

In Kiev the Resolution of the Kiev circuit administrative court of November 30, 2013[32] became the grounds for arrest on the claim of Kiev city state administration. It prohibited any peaceful gatherings between December 1 and January 7 in the central part of Kiev. Between November 30 and December 3 53 criminal proceedings were started against the rally participants[33].

Yielding to international and internal the Supreme Rada hurriedly passed a poorly drafted law on the amnesty of peaceful gatherings’ participants[34].

The court decisions on the banning of peaceful gatherings during Euromaidan were passed in many cities, in particular, in Chernyhyv, Kharkiv, Lugansk, Cherkassy, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Ternopyl, Alchevsk, Chuguyev etc. However, they were not practically enforced anywhere but in Kiev. In Dnipropetrovsk the circuit appellate court even refuted the decision on gatherings’ ban.[35]

5. Violation of peaceful gatherings’ freedom committed by the Ministry of Interior bodies

We asked the Ministry of Interior officials which normative acts sanction the operation of the snitches often present at the peaceful gatherings, taking pictures and video-footage of the participants, posters, banners and events.   

We found out that the document[36] regulating militia operation during peaceful gatherings (or “mass events” as they are still referred to in militia parlance) is strictly confidential. Later the Ministry of Interior advised that, although not yet approved[37], the document is already marked “for official use only”.

We believe that a document justifying militia “preventive” or “restrictive’ measures should be made public as a factor affecting the exercising of the right to peaceful gatherings.  Keeping it secret or “for official use only” is per se a violation of right to information access and contradicts the principle of legal determination – an individual  has the right to know about the consequences of certain behaviors within the context of interaction with law enforcement bodies during peaceful gatherings.   

Anti-constitutional norms establishing 10-days’ term for advance notification about peaceful gatherings and some obscure “non-sanctioned” peaceful gatherings so far have not been removed  from the Instructions of  road and traffic internal troops, despite respective requests submitted to the Ministry of Interior.   

5.1. “Isolated protests”

The problem of separating peaceful gatherings defined by Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine and the so-called “isolated protests”, i.e. the exercising of right to the freedom of expression and opinion by individuals, i.e.  presence in public places with banners and posters, dissemination of information materials etc, has not been resolved neither in 2012, nor in 2013.  

We asked Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in Kyiv whether the information about[38] detention of citizen A.Ilchenko, who stood in front of the Prosecutor General office in Pechersk district (Kyiv) holding a poster, by the militiamen on July 11, 2013, was true, and if so, what legal substantiation was applied by the officials.

We got response to the effect that even one person can “gather”.[39] Militia detained one person and compiled a protocol for individual action on the basis of the court ruling banning gatherings, which is absurdity. The same opinion is shared by Mykolaiv militia[40].

5.2. Use of militia operatives in plain clothes

In our 2012 report we suggested among other recommendations: “The Supreme Rada of Ukraine should regulate the use of plain-clothes militia operatives for the protection of law and order during peaceful gatherings at the legislative level”.     

This issue was addressed in 2013 both by deputies and by the non-governmental organizations. In 2013 two draft laws dealing with law enforcement officers’ anonymity were submitted to the Supreme Rada.[41]

The draft law # 3048 was devised in collaboration with the NGOs. It proposes special badges for law enforcers, displaying their full names, ranks and units. The militiamen shall not be allowed to hide or cover this badge.

The draft law # 3110, registered by O.Bryhinets, proposes special identification marks on the helmets and backs of the law enforcers’ uniforms.

5.3. Groundless stopping of peaceful gatherings and detention of their participants by the militia officials

Force is still used by militiamen against the rallies’ participants. The largest number of such incidents is registered in Kyiv.   

On March 18,  2013[42]  3 participants of peaceful action in support of human rights activist Dmytro Groysman, accused of disseminating pornography, were detained. Violence was used against the action participants by about 10 “Berkut” commandos. 

On July 19, 2013 [43] specialized “Berkut” unit dispersed a rally at Maidan with the use of force.

The new developments of the current year included the use of violence against journalists covering the meetings. Our partners’ organization “Independent media Trade union of Ukraine”[44], stresses that brutal treatment of journalists by “Berkut” lamentably has become routine.

On July 18, while the picketers at Maidan , were chased away, the “Berkut’ commandos used physical force against reporter Andriy Kovalyov, who was covering the event – he was pushed around; they tried to throw him off his feet, his microphone was torn away from him. The militiamen were aware that they were attacking journalist, as A.Kovlayov showed them his reporter’s ID and introduced himself.[45]

Later, when the demonstrators were forced to retreat towards Instytutska street, the “Berkut” commandos threw the journalists A.Kovalyov, O.Argat and D.Demyshev off their feet. A road and traffic unit sub-colonel was trying to prevent A.Kovalyov from taking video of the demonstrators’ detention and pushing them into militia vans. He started kicking the reporter’s video cam and tried to drag the journalist behind the militia lines.

None of the militia officials present did anything to prevent the illegal actions.

5.4. Militia non-interference into illegal actions during peaceful gatherings.  

On May 18, during a rally in the city center “solidly built individuals” have beaten up the 5th Channel reporter Olha Snitsarchuk and journalist Vlad Sodel representing the “Kommersant” newspaper. Militia passively observed the beatings. 

“The beating took place while the journalists performed their professional duties, with militia witnessing the incident without interfering” – says the joint statement of the journalists’ organization[46], -  it looks like people wearing militia uniforms consciously allowed the felons to mug the journalists”. The journalists’ organizations stress that this disgraceful practice becomes traditional in Ukraine.

In Kharkiv, prior to and in the course of the opposition rally on April 12,[47] all public transportation (but for the underground) suddenly came to a halt. The city managers pretended they had no control over the situation. The opposition petition about the criminal act was not given any consideration, and no measures were taken to resolve the situation.

5.5. Use of force against the Euromaidan participants

The participants of the peaceful gatherings which took place within the Euromaidan framework were severely beaten more than once by “Berkut” commandos. Read more about it in section 2 addressing torture and cruel treatment.

“Maidan Monitoring” Information Center observers and analysts testified to the demonstrative nature of the use of force against participants of the peaceful gatherings[48] on November 30, 2013 at Independence Square in Kiev. The Ministry of Interior failed to provide explanation of “Berkut” actions[49] despite numerous requests sent to the Ministry by the time of the Report preparation.

We also sought explanation from the authorities[50] concerning the attack on the barricades in Kiev on the night of December 11. The correspondence analysis demonstrated complete inadequacy of the official response and led to the conclusion that the bodies of power are unwilling to justify their actions to anyone.

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

Mass media keep using the definitions of “sanctioned’ or “permitted” meetings. Over the year 2013 these notions have become even more numerous in the media.  

People are used to act on priming principle. (intention fixing phenomenon). It creates the certainty that peaceful gatherings are to be permitted by someone. The “Rating groups” survey[51], in which 50% of the respondents answered that demonstrations without permits are unacceptable, while 34% consider them acceptable and 69% believe that “permitted” demonstrations are acceptable, support this conclusion. 

The Constitution of Ukraine (Article 39) establishes “notification” and not “permit” principle for peaceful gatherings.  Media monitoring revealed that direct official references to this principle are very scarce; on the other hand, it is quoted rather often by the peaceful gatherings’ organizers and participants, as well as by the journalists providing coverage of the events.    

Even NGO members with background in law regularly confuse “notification” with the “permission” with respect to any action.

Our efforts to draw the attention of mass media editors using these notions uncovered the need to educate both journalists and proactive citizens. “Dzerkalo tyzhnya” [Mirror of the week – Ukr.] newspaper, in violation of the law “On public appeals” failed to respond to our call [52] to avoid legally incorrect definitions.

Divulgation of erroneous concepts about the obligatory permits for meetings is a serious demotivator for public participation in the peaceful gatherings.   

7. Recommendations[53]

  1. In compliance with paragraph 3 of the Highest Administrative Court Plenum Resolution #6 of 21.05.12 concerning the draft resolution of the  Highest Administrative Court Plenum “On administrative court procedure for consideration and passing decision  with respect to exercising citizens’ rights to peaceful gatherings ( meetings, rallies, marches, demonstrations etc)”  we propose  to provide the administrative courts with unambiguous clarification of the conceptual unacceptability of the use of Soviet “order”, locally established “procedures” and “provisions”, of restricting the exercising of rights to peaceful gatherings by unspecified groups of individuals.    The uniform practice of applying relevant legislation shall be introduced in all courts with the goal of ensuring the freedom of peaceful gatherings. (In reply to our request HACU promised to pass this resolution in 2013).

2       The state executive service of Ukraine shall introduce amendments to the decree #66/2 of 21.12.2012 “On approval for reporting procedure  under form #1 (for six months) “report on the operation of the state executive service bodies” and procedure for its preparation which ensures publicity of the information on the number of executive inquests and use of measures of enforced compliance with court decisions concerning the restrictions in the exercising of right to peaceful gatherings; the number of instances in which state agents involved the internal units operatives for executive action and number of the Ministry of Emergency Situations officials involved in executive action.

3       The Ministry of Interior shall remove the mark “for official use only” from the draft methodological recommendations “Organizational and legal background for the operation of interior bodies officials  in preventing, revealing, registering, documenting and putting an end to illegal actions in the course of mass events” of 26.07.2011; make this document public.  

4       President of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and Ministry of Justice of Ukraine shall immediately address the task of compiling and making public the official list of the normative acts of the former USSR, which are still in force and affect individual and civil rights of the citizens.

5       The Supreme Rada shall invalidate the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Ukr.SSR “On urgent measures for the strengthening of legality and order in the republic” of 29.11.90 without delay.

6       The Ministry of Interior and the prosecutor’s offices shall immediately issue relevant clarification to the militia operatives on the unacceptability of detention and suing of citizens under article.185-1 CAIU for individual protests.  

7       The Ministry of Interior shall immediately introduce appropriate changes into the By-Laws of the traffic and road troops of militia of Ukraine (The Ministry of Interior order #404 of 28.07.94), removing the requirement of 10 days notification term of for advance notification on peaceful gatherings and the notion of «sanctioned” and “non-sanctioned” meetings.

8       Prosecutor General Office shall ensure the ubiquitous use of the law by all prosecutors’ offices while considering the matters of illegality of local normative acts concerning the organizing and conducting of peaceful gatherings; carry out respective monitoring; submit the motion on invalidating all these acts in the territory of Ukraine.  

9       The Prosecutor’s General office should properly investigate the instances of using force against participants of the peaceful gatherings, publish the investigation results, penalize the culprits and ensure due compensation to the victims. Without these actions the restitution of public trust towards the law enforcement bodies is out of question. More details can be found here [54].

 

[1] Prepared by N.Zubar and O.Severyn. NGO “Maidan Monitoring” information center . See in detail maidanua.org

[2] Freedom of peaceful gatherings in Ukraine in 2012   maidanua.org

[3] European Court for Human Rights appealed called Ukraine to provide legal regulations of freedom of  peaceful gatherings helsinki.org.ua

[4] CASE OF SHMUSHKOVYCH v. UKRAINE hudoc.echr.coe.int

[5] “For Freedom of Peaceful Gatherings” partnership piket.helsinki.org.ua

[6] NGO “Maidan Monitoring” information. Legal stand on draft law # 2508 On freedom of peaceful gatherings”.  maidanua.org

[7] Maps of (lack) of freedom of peaceful gatherings  in Ukraine maidanua.org

[8] So, how many peaceful gatherings occur in Ukraine? And what about “protest actions”? maidanua.org

[9] In Pershotravensk labor discipline still needs protection from the demonstrators maidanua.org

[10] NGO “Maidan Monitoring” : where (and how) the prosecutor’s office defends the freedom of peaceful gatherings maidanua.org

[11] Peaceful gatherings. In Berezhany citizens have…to pay for exercising their constitutional right   maidanua.org

[12] You may rally…at the airfield  maidanua.org

[13] The efficiency of the Prosecutor General office amounts to ... 1,9% maidanua.org

[14] The Supreme Rada apparatus shares our concern, but without much zeal…maidanua.org

[15] The register of the administrative courts’ rulings on peaceful gatherings’ banning claims for 2013  pravo.org.ua

[16] 7 days in custody for a meeting which never happened ! maidanua.org

[17] The organizer of Mezhgirya protest detained for 5 days  maidanua.org

[18] “Pluralism” in court: another judge condemned the organizer of Vrdievka march to detention maidanua.org

[19] Rivne residents were denied the right to picketing on the basis of a soviet decree maidanua.org

[20] Picketing of Dnipropetrovsk prosecutor’s office is not possible due to the lack of adequate venue maidanua.org

[21] The court banned road portest near the President’s office maidanua.org

[22]The court banned a meeting on the basis of illegal decision made by city council in Kharkiv  maidanua.org

[23] Kharkiv Euromaidan expressed its gratitude to militia for professional and appropriate protection of the public events maidanua.org

[24] Rivne circuit administrative court banned a meeting on the basis of the USSR order maidanua.org

[25] O.Severyn: “…and all other persons” maidanua.org

[26] Rallies in front of the Prosecutor General office banned for the term of one year. maidanua.org

[27]The circuit administrative court in Kyiv prohibited any meetings in Luteranska and Bankivska streets in Kyiv.       maidanua.org

[28] The circuit administrative court in Kyiv people’s deputy Serhiy Kaplin to organize and to hold any actions till the end of July. maidanua.org

[29] The court forbade Ternopyl residents the celebration of peter and Paul chritsitan holiday maidanua.org

[30] Rallies banned for two weeks in Odessa  maidanua.org

[31] Two more Odessa Euromaidan activists convicted by the court  maidanua.org

[32] The court satisfied Popov’s claim and banned meetings in the center of Kiev!!!  maidanua.org

[33] “Inadequate power puts activists behind the bars to intimidate everyone and put an end to Maidan” - Zakharov pohlyad.com

[34]The law on amnesty for Euromaidan participants is not viable: the lawyers’ opinion   vecherniy.kharkov.ua

[35] On December 19 the local Euromaidan activists will condemn the court ban on local peaceful gatherings in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast’ appellate court maidanua.org

[36] “Marked confidenial” maidanua.org

[37] O.Severyn: How militia got messed up with its own evidence ( epistolary narration with illustrations) maidanua.org

[38] A picketer from Nilokayev protesting from arbitarty actions of the law-enforcers,  detained in Kyiv near prosecutor Genereal office. novosti-n.mk.ua

[39] Obvious, but unfathomable. “do not gather in groups of one!” maidanua.org

[40] - : “ !” maidanua.org

[41] If unidentified, not guilty  www.radiosvoboda.org

[42] 3 persons detained at the Prosecutor General office protest action maidanua.org

[43] "Berkut” dispersed a rally at Maidan  maidanua.org

[44] Independent media Trade union of Ukraine cautions militia against use of force against journalists after Odessa events nmpu.org.ua

[45] Write to Yanukovych about abuse of journalists   www.blogs.telekritika.ua

[46] Come to the protest action against journalists’ mugging and support the petition on minister’s resignation blogs.telekritika.ua

[47]The opposition filed a complaint against blackage of public transportation in Kharkiv maidanua.org

[48] Maidan Monitoring” Information Center : the mugging of Maidan was a demonstration. maidanua.org

[49]The actions of “young berkuts” in Euromaidan on the night of November 29-30  could not/would not be explained at Zakharchenko’s office  maidanua.org

[50] What actually happened in Maidan? The authorities so far cannot provide any explanation. maidanua.org

[51] IRI Ukraine Survey: September 2013 www.slideshare.net

[52] “”Dzerkalo tyzhnya’ violates the law  maidanua.org

[53] Appeal to authorities with recommendations for amendments maidan.org.ua

[54] Kharkiv Euromaidan resolution on the occasion of Militia Day: maidanua.org