Kiev, April 1, Interfax - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has opened proceedings over a complaint filed by parishioners in the village of Ptycha in Ukraine's Rovno Region over repeated takeovers of the local church, Public Advocacy, a nongovernmental organization, said.
The takeovers were carried out with official support and inaction, the group said. For a long time, despite the existence of a court-confirmed title of ownership, the community was unable to use its own church, which was seized at the request of investigators as part of a criminal inquiry, the NGO said.
The fact that a Ukrainian Orthodox Church community cannot use its own property constitutes an obvious violation of international law, Public Advocacy said.
According to UOC believers, the authorities violated several articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by allowing unjustified intervention in the affairs of a religious organization, having effectively stripped it of its ownership and the right to a viable defense.
Relevant complaints have also been sent to the UN human rights council and the UN special rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief.