The human right to freedom of assembly and association is one of the fundamental foundations of a democratic society. One of the fundamental international treaties in this area is the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 11 of which stipulates that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others. The ECtHR noted that the protection of opinions and freedom of expression is one of the goals of freedom of assembly and association in accordance with Article 11 (Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP) v. Turkey), §37).
Articles 36 and 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine contain similar norms. Thus, the main purpose of the above-mentioned rights is the realization and protection by citizens of the rights to political, peaceful demonstration and participation in the democratic process, although the ECtHR notes that the interpretation of the specified rights exclusively in the political context is unacceptable, because the right to assembly and association can be exercised from any for what purpose, except violent.
However, these rights are not indisputable. Martial law has been introduced in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. The Law of Ukraine "On the Legal Regime of Martial Law" specifies that the constitutional rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen may be temporarily limited in connection with the introduction of martial law, and such a limitation has been introduced in Ukraine regarding the right to peaceful assembly (Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine) ( Clause 3 of the Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 64/2022 dated February 24, 2022). However, based on the content of paragraph 2 of Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Decree alone is not sufficient for such a restriction, because according to the mentioned norm, such a restriction can be established only by a court.
Also, cases of courts banning the activities of political parties have become more frequent due to the existence of grounds to believe that they may pose a real threat to the constitutional order, fundamental rights and freedoms of Ukrainians, with the aim of violating the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which fully corresponds to the content of Part 2 of Article 36 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
Yes, the state restricts our rights, but this is a forced measure. Ukrainian realities encourage us to look at ordinary things in a different way and learn to implement the tools of the democratic world, taking into account the challenges of modernity and the conditions of war
Oleksandr Bragin, attorney at Dynasty Law & Investment