Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of LRO Taganrog and Others v. the Russian Federation (application No. 32401/10)

France Judicial acts

On June 7, 2022, the ECHR declared illegal the liquidation of the administrative center and another 395 legal entities of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, the ban on their activities and the seizure of property; prohibition of printed publications and the official website; In addition, the court decided to stop the criminal prosecution of believers, and to release the prisoners.

THIRD SECTION

CASE OF TAGANROG LRO AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA

(Applications nos. 32401/10 and 19 others – see appended list)

JUDGMENT

Art 9 (read in light of Art 11) ● Art 10 ● Freedom of religion ● Freedom to impart information ● Forced dissolution of a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (JW) local religious organisation (LRO) ● Declaration of JW’ publications as “extremist” ● Not “prescribed by law” and necessary in democratic society

Art 10+11 (read in light of Art 9) ● Freedom of expression ● Freedom of association ● Domestic courts’ failure to provide relevant and sufficient reasons and to uphold adversarial nature of proceedings when declaring JW’ publications “extremist” and prosecuting individual JW applicants ● No balancing exercise conducted by domestic courts for dissolution of a LRO for using those publications

Art 10 (read in light of Art 9) ● Freedom to impart and receive information ● Withdrawal of distribution permit and prosecution of JW for distributing unregistered media ● Declaration of JW’ international website as “extremist” ● Neither “prescribed by law” nor necessary in democratic society

Art 9 (read in light of Art 11) ● Dissolution of JW’ Administrative Centre and LROs ● Policy of intolerance by authorities ● Failure to act in good faith and breach of State’s duty of neutrality and impartiality

Art 9 ● Art 5 ● Arbitrary criminal prosecution of applicants for continuing to practice their religion ● Unlawful pre-trial detention of individual applicant

Art 1 P1 ● Peaceful enjoyment of possessions ● No legal basis for seizure of publications, immovable and personal property

Art 46 • Individual measures • Respondent state required to take measures to secure the discontinuation of pending criminal proceedings against JW and release of all imprisoned JW

STRASBOURG

7 June 2022

This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.


In the case of Taganrog LRO and …