CASE OF KRUGLOVA AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 12283/14 and 9 others

The applicants, who are members of the religious organization “Bozhya Slava” based in Syktyvkar, complained of the various restrictions imposed by the authorities on the location and/or time of public religious events.


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF KRUGLOVA AND OTHERSv. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 12283/14 and 9 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
10 November 2022

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Kruglova and Others v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Darian Pavli, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Frédéric Krenc, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 20 October 2022,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.

2. The applicants were represented by Mr E.A. Mezak, a human rights defender from Syktyvkar.

3. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

4. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicants, who are members of the religious organization “Bozhya Slava” based in Syktyvkar, complained of the various restrictions imposed by the authorities on the location and/or time of public religious events. Some applicants also raised complaints about the lack of domestic remedies against the alleged violations of their freedom of assembly.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

6. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 11 OF THE CONVENTION

7. The applicants complained principally of the restrictions imposed by the authorities on the location and/or time of public religious events. They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 11 of the Convention, which, in so far as relevant, reads:

Article 11

“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly…

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.”

8. The Court refers to the principles established in its case‑law regarding freedom of assembly (see Kudrevičiusand Others v. Lithuania [GC], no. 37553/05, ECHR 2015, with further references).

9. In the leading case of Lashmankin and Others v. Russia, no. 57818/09 and 14 others, §§ 402-78, 7 February 2017, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

10. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the interferences with the applicants’ freedom of assembly were based on legal provisions which did not meet the Convention’s “quality of law” requirements and were moreover not “necessary in a democratic society”.

11. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 11 of the Convention in respect of each applicant.

III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW

12. In applications nos. 12283/14, 16312/14, 26499/14, 11406/15 and 14123/15, the applicants submitted complaints under Article 13 of the Convention about the lack of effective remedies against the alleged violations of their freedom of assembly (see appended table). These complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor are they inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, they must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that they also disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in Lashmankin and Others,cited above, §§ 342-61, and Kablis v. Russia, nos. 48310/16 and 59663/17, §§ 64-72, 30 April 2019.

IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

13. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

14. Having regard to the nature of the applicants’ complaints, the Court considers that the finding of a violation, triggering the respondent State’s obligation to take measures aimed at ensuring the respect of the right to freedom of assembly indicated in the judgment of Alekseyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 14988/09 and 50 others, §§ 27-29, 27 November 2018, constitutes sufficient just satisfaction (see, for a similar approach, Alekseyev and Others v. Russia ([Committee], nos. 26624/15 and 76 others, § 18, 16January 2020), Zverev and Others v. Russia ([Committee], nos. 26363/18 and 2 others, § 15, 7 July 2022, and Taratunin and Others v. Russia ([Committee], nos. 2051/18 and 4 others, § 14, 28 July 2022).

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 11 of the Convention concerning the restrictions imposed by the authorities on the location and/or time of public events;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of the Convention as regards the other complaints raised under well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);

5. Holds that the finding of a violation constitutes in itself sufficient just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 10 November 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                   Darian Pavli
Acting Deputy Registrar                President

_______________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Article 11 of the Convention
(Restrictions on location, time or manner of conduct of public events)

No. Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

 

Location

Date of the public event planned

Restrictions applied Final domestic decision (type of procedure)

Date

Name of the court

Other complaints under well‑established case-law
1. 12283/14

18/01/2014

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Stefanovskaya Square Syktyvkar

15/09/2013

Proposal to change the location, general prohibition on holding public events at certain locations (near the court buildings) Notification procedure: 26/12/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Art. 13 – lack of an effective remedy in domestic law in relation to Article 11 complaint
2. 16312/14

12/02/2014

(4 applicants)

Yekaterina Sergeyevna CHICHEROVA

1982

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Viktor Yevgenyevich DUDIN

1957

Sport stadiumSyktyvkar

23/08/2013

Sport stadiumSyktyvkar

13/09/2013

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Notification procedure: 16/01/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure: 26/12/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Art. 13 – lack of an effective remedy in domestic law in relation to Article 11 complaint
3. 17858/14

17/02/2014

(3 applicants)

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Chapygina SquareSyktyvkar

27/08/2013

Proposal to change the location Notification procedure: 31/10/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

4. 17861/14

17/02/2014

(5 applicants)

Yekaterina Sergeyevna CHICHEROVA

1982

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Pavel Aleksandrovich KOZLOV

1976

Football stadium Syktyvkar

14/06/2013

Football stadium Syktyvkar

30/08/2013

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Notification procedure:21/11/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure:14/11/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

5. 21382/14

03/02/2014

(5 applicants)

Tatyana Andreyevna KOROBOVSKAYA

1984

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Yekaterina Sergeyevna CHICHEROVA

1982

Park near Stefanovskaya Square

Syktyvkar

Several manifestations between 29/08/2013

and

27/10/2013

Proposals to change the locations

 

 

 

 

 

Notification procedure: 26/12/2013

Supreme Court of Komi Republic;

16/01/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

6. 26496/14

10/03/2014

(5 applicants)

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Viktor Yevgenyevich DUDIN

1957

Pavel Aleksandrovich KOZLOV

1976

 

Several locations Syktyvkar

Several manifestations between 04/06/2013 and 27/10/2013

Proposals to change the locations Notification procedure: 02/12/2013

Supreme Court of the

Komi Republic,

23/12/2013

Supreme Court of the

Komi Republic

7. 26499/14

13/03/2014

(4 applicants)

Yekaterina Sergeyevna CHICHEROVA

1982

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Orbitamicrodistrict

Syktyvkar

21/09/2013

Orbitamicrodistrict

Syktyvkar

27/10/2013

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Notification procedure: 17/02/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure: 17/02/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Art. 13 – lack of an effective remedy in domestic law in relation to Article 11 complaint
8. 2371/15

16/12/2013

(14 applicants)

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Natalya Alekseyevna BOYARINTSEVA

1975

Alena Aleksandrovna GALINSKAYA

1982

Tatyana Andreyevna KOROBOVSKAYA

1984

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Viktor Yevgenyevich DUDIN

1957

Pavel Aleksandrovich KOZLOV

1976

Yelena Igorevna NITCHENKO

1989

Valeriy Nikolayevich ZHIVOTKO

1951

Galina Alekseyevna ZHIVOTKO

1951

Olga Vasilyevna DUDINA

1960

Yevgeniya

Vladimirovna MAGAYEVA

1985

Inna Valeryevna YERMOLAYEVA

1975

Stefanovskaya square

Syktyvkar Several manifestations between 25/06/2013 and

03/07/2013

Proposals to change the location Notification procedure: 21/11/2013

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

9. 11406/15

30/01/2015

(3 applicants)

Yelena Igorevna NITCHENKO

1989

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Several locations

Syktyvkar

Several manifestations between 02/08/2014 and

12/08/2014

Proposals to change the locations Notification procedure: 13/10/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Art. 13 – lack of an effective remedy in domestic law in relation to Article 11 complaint
10. 14123/15

11/03/2015

(4 applicants)

Dmitriy Sergeyevich PATOV

1986

Olga Aleksandrovna KRUGLOVA

1984

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich NITCHENKO

1984

Yelena Igorevna NITCHENKO

1989

 

Chapygina Square

Syktyvkar

19/09/2014

Site near football stadium

Syktyvkar

20/09/2014

Site near bus stop

Syktyvkar

21/09/2014

Site near a shop

Syktyvkar

23/09/2014

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Proposal to change the location

Notification procedure: 20/11/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure: 20/11/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure: 20/11/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Notification procedure: 20/11/2014

Supreme Court of the Komi Republic

Art. 13 – lack of an effective remedy in domestic law in relation to Article 11 complaint

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