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Update – Supreme Court: Public gatherings must be declared. Participants may be sentenced to jail sentences. #rezist protesters say will sue the state

Organisers have the obligation to declare the public gatherings to the public authorities, when they are to be carried out in squares or on public roads or in other places situated nearby the offices or houses of legal persons of public or private interest.

The decision was made on Monday by the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court) to an admitted appeal for the interest of the law filed by the Bucharest Court of Appeals leading college. The ruling comes following the contrary decisions of courts in Bucharest Court of Appeals area regarding the fines issued by gendarmes to protesters, who eventually challenged them, ziare.com reports.

ICCJ still has to clear the meaning of ‘the obligation to declare gatherings… when they are to be carried out in squares or on public roads or in other places situated nearby the offices or houses’ according to Law no. 60/1991 on the organization and progress of public gatherings.

One article of Law 60/1991 reads that public gatherings need to be declared, two articles afterwards the law reads that some of them should not be declared.

“Article 1, paragraph 3: Public gatherings – meetings, protests, rallies, processions and others – which are to take place in squares, public roads or in other open air areas, can be organized only after being previously declared according the present law.

Article 3: Should not be previously declared – the public gatherings aiming at cultural-artistic, sports, religious, commemorative meetings, those occasioned by official visits or which are carried out in the offices or houses of legal persons of public or private interest.”

Thus, the organisers are to file with the city hall a written statement, at least 3 days before the gathering, mentioning the organisers, the purpose, the place, date, start hour and duration of the gathering, the access and exit routes, the approximate number of participants, the persons authorized to ensure and responsible for the organization, the services requested from the city hall and from the local Police.

Article 26 sets the contraventions for undeclared gatherings.

  • For organizing and conducting undeclared, unregistered or forbidden public gatherings;
  • For taking part to undeclared or forbidden public gatherings, followed by the refusal to leave the place where they are conducted, upon the request and demand of the law enforcing forces;
  • The contraventions provided by letters a)-c) sanction by imprisonment to 6 months or by fines from RON 50,000 to RON 200,000, and the ones provided by letters d)-k) with imprisonment from one to 3 months or by fines from RON 10,000 to RON 50,000.

#rezist says will sue the Romanian state

The #rezist protesters have reacted after the ICCJ ruling on Monday and claim they will sue the state to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR).

“With the decision today, ICCJ has limited the citizens’ rights to carry on spontaneous protests. (…) The judges have decided that any public gathering should be declared to the city hall. Hence, the spontaneous character of the protest, provided by article 3 of Law 60/1991, will no longer be valid, although the gathering is carried out outside a public institution,” a release from the association ‘Evolutia in Institutie’, led by protester Cristian Dide, reads.

The release further reads: “Actually, they have green lighted the Gendarmerie to issue fines and to intervene in force, although the protest is peaceful, but undeclared. So, the rallies taking place under powerful emotional impact, such as the one on the night when the GEO 13 was issued, cannot take place anymore. In a country as Romania, with risks of Emergency Ordinances, where the governing party charges daily the rule of law, the spontaneous public gatherings seem not to be allowed anymore.”

The protesters say they would sue the Romanian state to the ECHR, following the ICCJ decision.

“Given that this decision will have financial consequences on many protesters, after the release of the ICCJ decision, the ‘Evolution in Institution’ association will sue the Romanian state to the ECHR,” the source informs.

 

 

 

 

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About Valeriu Lazar