The attorneys of the Advocate’s Association “Mogylnytsky&Partners” within the frameworks of cooperation with the Public Organization “Non-government Organization of Supremacy of Law” drew up and filed a claim against the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

The attorneys of the Advocate’s Association “Mogylnytsky&Partners” within the frameworks of cooperation with the Public Organization “Non-government Organization of Supremacy of Law” drew up and filed a claim against the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. The District Administrative Court of Kyiv has already commenced relevant proceeding.

We are determined to prove the fact of a lack of authorities granted to the guarantor of the Constitution to interfere into the affairs of church and religious organizations. In particular, the question is in signing and forwarding the appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with regard to provision of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Being the experienced human rights defenders, we are entitled to declare that the President of Ukraine does not have the legal right to interfere into the affairs of a church and religious organizations. It is expressly prohibited for by Article 9 of the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as by Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

I can say even more! Basically the state represented by all its agencies and officials does not have such right. And there are no exclusions provided for to the high-ranking state officials.

Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” expressly states that the state shall not interfere into the activities of religious organizations performed within the law.

Meanwhile, the President in his statement to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as of the twentieth of September declares that he is engaged in a direct dialogue with the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with regard to establishment of a new autocephalous Orthodox Church. According to the statements of the Head of the state this dialogue is being carried out “without any diplomatic formalities”. Namely, it is not the matter of the measure taken under the influence of emotions.

At present it is already quite obvious that the message reached the addressee and the President of Ukraine, in violation of the Convention, as well as the Constitution and the Law, continues to interfere into church affairs over and over again.

I would like to emphasize on the fact that the European Court of Human Rights can indeed recognize the interference of the state into activity of religious organization as reasonable, but only in the interests of the national security and only in such cases, when the threat is quite real but not fictitious.

Thus, for example, the European Court of Human Rights recognized the interference of France having prohibited to wear clothes covering face in public places as reasonable on that simple basis that it hinders identification of a person (Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights as of July 01, 2014, in case No. 43835/11).

On the other hand, there is a claim of the Metropolis of Bessarabia and others against Moldova No. 45701/99 45701/99 (Decision as of December 12, 2001). Let me remind that the government of Moldova declared obstructing of registration of a religious organization in order to prevent public collisions. The European Court of Human Rights has not only brushed these arguments but even recognized such passive interference into church affairs as violation of Article 9 of the Convention.

In our case it is impossible even to hint at any passive interference. After all, this is not about registration of any religious organization as a legal entity and according to the secular laws. The question is about establishment of a parallel Orthodox Church according to the church canons. The Interference is active to the last degree.

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