Russia’s Appeal of Moscow Pride Ban Rejected by the European Court of Human Rights
The decision given against Russia is final and came into force. Gay activists are planning another Gay Pride on May 28
According to GayRussia.Ru information, the European Court of Human Rights has put a final dot to the case of the Moscow Pride ban by rejecting Russia’s appeal against the decision in the case of Alekseyev v. Russia. The decision came into force on April 11.
The initial decision which concerned the bans of 164 marches and picketings planned in Moscow between May 2006 and May 2008 was announced by the Court on October 21 but appealed by the Russian government on January 21.
The case Alekseev v. Russia is the first ever case to be won against Russia on a gay rights issue at the European Court of Human Rights. It is also the first ruling to prove that Russia’s law on public demonstrations contradicts with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by not allowing for effective legal remedy.
In their decision, the panel of five judges unanimously declared that Russia had violated Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly), article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 11 and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention.
Organizer of Moscow Gay Pride and the applicant in the case Nikolai Alekseev declared on Wednesday that:
"We are extremely satisfied with the timeline as the decision came into force right on time before the date of the sixth planned Gay Pride in Moscow next month;
"We believed in our victory against the Russian authorities from the very first day and we do not regret all the efforts we spent to get this decision;
“This is setting a very symbolical precedent in Russia as this decision is not only on the issue of gay rights but it is about the basic right of freedom of assembly of anyone”
“Russian authorities and Russian Courts have as of today, no legal ground to ban any gay rights marches and rallies in Russia”
Yesterday, the Moscow Pride organizing Committee notified the Moscow Government of its intention to hold on May 28 a Gay Pride event in the form of a cultural and educational action.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.