View Adopted: 2019.11.08
The complaint involved the author attending a demonstration ('picket') in the main square of Svetlogorsk. The organizer was apprehended by authorities and the author left the scene, howeever was later served a notice under a domestic offence prohibiting public gatherings without authorization. It was later determined that the author had had their request to hold a demonstration denied by the authorities. Later, the Svetlogorsk District Court found that the author had violated domestic legislation which requires prior authorisation for public meetings.
The author claimed a violation of his rights to freedom of expression under Article 19 and of peaceful assembly Article 21 of the Covenant read in conjunction with Article 2(2) and (3).
The Committee considered that the author had failed to substantiate his claim in relation to article 19 raised in conjunction with article 2(3).
The Committee noted that there are permissible restrictions on the freedom of opinion and expression, however only to the extent that they are provided for by law and only if they are necessary (a) for respect of the rights or reputation of others; or (b) for the protection of national security or public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. In this case the Committee determined that the failure of the state party to provide an explanation for limitation meant their actions were in violation of article 19 of the Covenant.
With respect to article 21, the author was found by the District Court to have "organized" the gathering, to which the State party provided no explanation. Similarly on this basis, there was no justification for the restrictions placed upon the author by the State party, and the Committee found a violation of the authors rights under article 21 of the Covenant.
The Committee requested that the state party provide information about the measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views by 8 May 2020, as well as widely disseminate the views of the Committee in the official languages of the state party.