Joint Letter: Support for ECHR Grand Chamber Referral in Sinkova v. Ukraine

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This joint letter was written by 22 organizations involved in the study, protection, or exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and artistic freedom to support the request for referral to the Grand Chamber in the case of Sinkova v. Ukraine (Application No. 39496/11). 

The case involves a performance artist and political analyst who fried eggs over the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kyiv. She was arrested for desecrating the tomb, held for three months in pretrial detention, convicted, and sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for two years.

In its judgment of February 27, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights held, by four votes to three, that there had been no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression.

The letter argues that the reasoning of the four-judge majority departed from what were thought of as well-established principles in the court’s case law, and establishes a precedent which erodes the protections afforded by Article 10.

The letter was coordinated by Greenpeace International, the Legal Human Academy, and the Human Rights Centre of the University of Gent, together with the Open Society Justice Initiative.