View Adopted: 2021.07.23
Author is a Russian national. She participated in a protest holding a poster. She was arrested for having organised an unauthorised public event. She was fined by the courts, and her appeals were denied. She complains that her rights under articles 2 (2) and (3), 19 and 21 of the Convention have been violated.
The author contended that article 2 (2) of the Convention was violated in conjunction with article 19. The Committee emphasised that a violation of article 2 (2) in conjunction with another Convention provision would be redundant, and found this portion of the communication to be inadmissible under article 3 of the Optional Protocol. Further, the Committee found the author’s claims under articles 19 and 21, read in conjunction with article 2(3) of the Covenant to be unsubstantiated and thus also inadmissible. Nonetheless, the claims under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant were deemed sufficiently substantiated and thus admissible.
The Committee found that the State Party failed to invoke any grounds under which they were authorised to restrict the freedom of expression, as required by article 19 (3). Further, the State Party failed to demonstrate that the restrictions were proportionate and the minimum restrictions required to achieve a permitted objective. As such, a violation of the author’s rights under article 19 (2) occurred. Further, the restrictions were not so as to be necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, public safety, or public order, and as such a breach of article 21 further occurred.
The State party is obligated, inter alia, to provide the author with adequate compensation, including to reimburse the fine and any legal costs incurred by the author in relation to the domestic proceedings. The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future, in particular by reviewing its national legislation on public events and the implementation thereof in order to make it compatible with its obligations under article 2 (2) to adopt measures able to give effect to the rights recognized by articles 19 and 21.
By Justin Golden