Judges want Russia to introduce “systemic measures” to remedy human rights concerns raised by the authorities’ ban on LGBT rallies.
In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Alekseyev and Others v. Russia (application no. 14988/09 and 50 others) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly),
a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), and
a violation of Article 14 (right not to be discriminated against)
of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case, which brought together 51 applications from seven applicants, concerned the continued refusal by Russian authorities to approve organisers’ requests to hold LGBT rallies.
The court found that this case was relevantly similar to the case of Alekseyev v. Russia, on which it had adjudicated in 2010, and that it ought to replicate its judgment in that case in the present instance.
It thus found, in particular, that the decision to reject the applicants’ requests to hold public LGBT events could not be justified by concerns over public disorder and was in breach of their right to freedom of assembly.
It also found that the absence of any requirement on the authorities to make a decision on the events prior to the dates on which they were to be held had amounted to an absence of effective remedy.
The decision to block the LGBT events had clearly been motivated by the authorities’ disapproval of the theme of the demonstrations, and had thus amounted to discrimination, in violation of Article 14.
The court reiterated the obligation of States to implement judgments and noted that Russia would
need to make a sustained and long-term effort to adopt general measures, particularly in relation to
issues of freedom of assembly and discrimination.
Article 41 (just satisfaction)
The Court held, by six votes to one, that the finding of violations of Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the
Convention constituted, in itself, sufficient just satisfaction for the non-pecuniary damage sustained
by the applicants.