Eviction of Ukrainian Orthodox Church from a church and chapel demolition. Rejection due to lack of risk of irreparable damage to a fundamental right.
«Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate in Crimea» v. Russia 01.09.2020 (app. 33931/19 and 33585/20). Interim Measures
Eviction from a church and demolition of a chapel. Application for temporary measures by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea, so that the Russian authorities do not evict them from the cathedral in Simferopol and do not demolish another church in Evpatoria. The cathedral and the chapel are, according to the applicant Church, its two main places of worship in the Crimea. The Russian authorities claimed that the Church had no right to use the facility because it had not been registered as a legal entity under Russian law.
Rejection of claims by the ECtHR as not falling within the scope of Article 39 (Interim Measures) of the Rules of Court, as they do not involve the risk of serious and irreparable damage to a fundamental right under the ECHR.
Article 39 of the Rules of the Court
Article 1 of the First Additional Protocol
The applicant in both applications is Upravlinnya Krymskoyi Yeparkhiyi Ukrayinskoyi Pravoslavnoyi
Tserkvy, the Crimean branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. It was
registered in 1996 under Ukrainian law and is based in the Cathedral of Sacred Equal Apostles St.
Prince Volodymyr and St. Princess Olga in Simferopol, Crimea.
The applicant Church made two requests to the Court, on 4 and 6 August 2020, under Rule 39 of its
Rules of Court for interim measures to indicate to the Russian Government to stop the eviction from
the Cathedral and the demolition of the Chapel.
The eviction decision was taken by the Arbitration Court of Crimea in July 2019 after the Russian
authorities initiated judicial proceedings to terminate the Church’s lease for the premises of the
Cathedral. The Russian authorities argued that the applicant Church did not have the right to use the
premises because it had failed to register itself as a legal entity under Russian law.
The decision to demolish the Chapel was taken in November 2019 by the Yevpatoria City Court. The
decision was based on the Russian authorities’ argument that the Chapel had been built without the
local authorities’ authorisation.
The applicant Church’s appeals against these decisions were all unsuccessful and the decisions
became final on 4 and 5 August 2020.
The applicant Church has lodged the two urgent requests in the context of application nos. 33931/19
and 33585/20 to allege that the Russian authorities have initiated a process of systematic expulsion of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches from the peninsula. It relies on Article 9 (freedom of religion), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), and Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 to the Convention (protection of property).
THE DECISION OF THE COURT…
After receiving information from the Russian Government on 24 August 2020 in reply to its
questions, the European Court decided to reject the requests as out of scope. According to the
Court’s well-established practice, such requests fall outside the scope of application of Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court when they do not involve a risk of serious and irreparable harm of a core right under