Published: 31 Mar 2015 | By Sundiata Sidibe

Helsinki Committee of Armenia v Armenia

Case Summary

Case no. 59109/08
Judgment Date: 31 March 2015

On 12 May 2007, a witness (L.G.) in a murder investigation died while attempting to escape a Yerevan police station by jumping out of a second story window. This event provoked a public outcry among Armenian human rights groups and civil society. The Helsinki Committee of Armenia, a human rights NGO, decided to hold a march on 12 May 2008 to mark the first anniversary of L.G.’s death. Mass protests following the Presidential election of 19 February 2008 had resulted in violence between the authorities and supporters of the opposition, in which at least 10 people were killed. On 1 March 2008, a state of emergency was declared for 20 days, during which time all public gatherings were banned. In light of these events, the Mayor of Yerevan refused to approve the Helsinki Committee’s request of 6 May 2008 for permission to hold the march on 12 May 2008. The Mayor considered that any further public demonstrations would pose a threat to public safety because not all of the alleged perpetrators of violence in the February 2008 protests had been apprehended and the weapons used had not been confiscated. The Mayor’s decision was posted to the Helsinki Committee on 12 May 2008, and was received on 13 May 2008. On the day of the planned march, the police prevented the event from going ahead. The Helsinki Committee argued that the Mayor’s ban of the march was an unlawful violation of their right to freedom of assembly (Art. 11 ECHR).

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