The European Court will, as a matter of priority, review the decision to ban Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in Russia PDF Print E-mail

On December 1, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights found the complaint of Jehovah's Witnesses acceptable, decided to consider it as a matter of priority and ordered the Russian Federation to submit its explanations by March 23, 2018. The Russian Federation is invited to indicate its position with regard to concluding a settlement agreement in this case and submit any proposals.

The complaint is entitled "The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and Kalin against the Russian Federation" (No. 1018817). She was sent to the European Court in connection with the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia of April 20, 2017 to liquidate all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and ban their activities on the grounds provided for by anti-extremist legislation.


Representatives of the Russian state will be required to explain in writing to the international court whether there has been a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention guaranteeing the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others in connection with this decision of the court. Has there been a violation of Article 9, which guarantees the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom to change one's religion or beliefs and freedom to practice one's religion or beliefs individually or in community with others, publicly or privately, in worship, teaching, rituals? Was there a violation of article 14, which prohibits discrimination and guarantees equal rights for all, regardless of their religious beliefs or other characteristics? Separately, the question was raised whether, in connection with the confiscation of the property of the Administrative Center, there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention, which guarantees to every natural or legal person the right to respect for their property, which presumes that no one can be deprived of his property otherwise as in the public interest and on the terms provided for by law and the general principles of international law?

It is common knowledge that the decision to liquidate and ban all organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia entailed numerous violations of the rights of believers, both on the part of officials and on the part of the aggressively-minded part of society. With regard to individual believers, operative-search activities are conducted, criminal cases are initiated. Jehovah's Witnesses insist on the illegality of the decision passed against them.