ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2021.07.23

View Adopted: 2021.07.23

Ekaterina Tolchina et al v. Belarus

Civil society activists denied authorization to hold a peaceful rally expressing solidarity with Ukraine- violation found

Substantive Issues
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of expression
Relevant Articles
  • Article 19
  • Article 2.2
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 21
Full Text


The authors of the communication are Belarusian nationals, who claim that the State Party has violated their Covenant rights under articles 19 and 21 in conjunction with article 2 (2-3). 

On 17 July 2014, the authors’ application to the Gomel City Executive Committee for authorization to hold peaceful rallies was rejected. The reasons were first, the location of the pickets was not among those specified for such conduct, and second, failure to submit the contracts with the city service providers to ensure medical service and cleaning of the event. Subsequently, the Court rejected the appeal of the authors arguing that the decision complied with the domestic law (Law on Mass Public Events Act). Cassation appeal and further appeals under the supervisory review proceedings were also rejected.



Since the State party was unable to show that requests for supervisory review constitute an effective remedy in the present circumstances, the Committee is not precluded from examining this communication. Regarding claims under article 19 and 21 read with article 2 (2), the Committee stated that the authors have already alleged a violation of their rights under articles 19 and 21. Hence, this part is inadmissible. Under article 19 and 21 read with article 2 (2) (3), the claims are unsubstantiated, hence  inadmissible. The Committee pronounced the authors’ claims under articles 19 (2) and 21 as having been sufficiently substantiated, and this part of the communication is admissible.



The Committee stated that the justifications do not reach the threshold of national security or public safety, public order, protection of health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Hence, the State Party has violated article 21 of the Covenant. Further, the Committee held that the prohibition imposed on the authors for holding peaceful assemblies does not meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality. Conclusively, the rights of the authors under article 19 have been violated.



The State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including full reparation to the individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Accordingly, the State party is obligated to provide the authors adequate compensation, take necessary steps to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future, revise its normative framework on public events.


Deadline is 19th January 2022

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