Ukraine does not have clear legislation regulating the enjoyment of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. As in Uzbekistan, the state has not enacted specific legislation dealing with peaceful assemblies after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In Ukraine, those laws and regulations of the USSR that do not contradict the current legislation are still valid. Some public authorities abide by the decree of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR of July 28, 1988 “On the Procedure for Organizing and Holding Meetings, Rallies, Street Processions and Demonstrations in the USSR”. According to this law, it is stated that in order to hold meetings it is necessary to obtain permission 10 days prior to the date on which the planned meeting is to take place.
Other local authorities independently establish rules for holding peaceful assemblies. Human rights defenders note that civil servants are trying to regulate meetings and actions in a way that benefits the local authorities.
The Code of Administrative Offences of Ukraine of 1984 states that repeated violation of rules for holding public assemblies shall entail a fine in the amount ranging from 10 to 25 tax-exempt minimums of the citizen income (or from $7 to $17).
In addition to that, it is noted that government officials are liable for failing to fulfill their duties to participate in the organization of events and shall face a fine in the amount ranging from 20 to 100 tax-exempt minimums of the citizen income (or from $14 to $69).
The Criminal Code of Ukraine establishes penalties for government officials who obstruct meetings and resort to physical violence. The exertion of physical force and obstruction of public assemblies shall entail correctional labour for a period of up to 2 years, arrest for up to 6 months, or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
Commentaries of experts and participants of public events
Participants of public assemblies, human rights defenders, and journalists from Ukraine say that the overall environment for public assemblies seems to be favourable. However, in some cases, local authorities attempt to restrict the holding of peaceful actions. They note most difficulties surrounding the organization of LGBT events and assemblies that criticize the government and its policies. The respondents claim that police repeatedly resort to the use of force during public assemblies and fail to protect participants of assemblies from aggressive activists.
Assembly participants reiterate that it is almost impossible to hold the public authorities and law enforcement officials liable for the violation of the right to freedom of assembly. They complain that the authorities of Ukraine rarely abide by the decisions and regulations of international human rights organizations.
The European Court of Human Rights stated that Ukraine does not have a procedure for holding public events. The ECHR stressed that the country has not had a law for more than 20 years and called such a delay unjustified. In 2016, the draft version of the law on meetings was examined by the Venice Commission.