Will the European Court of Human Rights make life easier for Ukrainian picketers?

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union informs that on 9 April the European Court of Human Rights will be publishing its judgement in the case of Verentsov v. Ukraine. This could radically change judicial practice in Ukraine with respect to peaceful assembly and make life easier for Ukrainian picketers.

Oleksy Verentsov received a three day term of administrative imprisonment for holding a peaceful protest outside the Prosecutor’s Office in Lviv and his refusal to obey the police when they told him to stop the protest. The ruling was taken by the Halytsky District Court in Lviv which did not allow Verentsov’s lawyer to attend the court hearing. It later transpired that the Lviv Court of Appeal also considered that you need a permit from the authorities to hold a peaceful gathering.

It is interesting that the reference made by the UHHRU lawyer to the European Convention on Human Rights was called trumped up and unwarranted by the Court of Appeal.

It is worth noting that the number of court cases regarding bans of peaceful gatherings considered by district administrative courts had increased in 2012 by more than a third – 355 rulings in 2012 as against 227 rulings in 2011.

The case was supported in the European Court of Human Rights by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Strategic Litigations Fund.

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