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Europe rights court orders Ukraine to reform protest laws


The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled that Ukraine had violated the rights of an activist convicted for calling a 2010 protest, and said Kiev must urgently reform its laws regarding demonstrations.

The Strasbourg court ruled in favour of Ukrainian rights activist Oleksy Verentsov, who had been sentenced to three days in detention for organising the protest in the western town of Lviv in 2010, without permission.

His organisation was protesting corruption in the justice system. After an initial demonstration the Lviv administrative court banned further protests.

The court ruled that the current law "does not even require such an authorisation" and ordered Ukraine to pay the claimant 6,000 euros ($7,800) in damages.

"No clear procedure on the organisation of peaceful protests has been established in Ukraine since the break-up of the Soviet Union," the court said, adding the delay in adopting such laws was unjustified.

The court said legislative reforms must be "urgently put in place" to define the requirements and restrictions for holding protests.

Ukraine, a member of the European Council since 1995, has three months to approach the court if it wishes to have the case re-examined.