Reforms to protect free assembly after protest was banned

Christian Democratic People’s Party v. Republic of Moldova  | 2006

Reforms to protect free assembly after protest was banned


The Christian Democratic People’s Party (CDPP) is a political party from Moldova. In 2001 – when the CDPP was in opposition – the Communist Party government announced that it intended to make Russian language compulsory in schools. This caused heated public debate.

In response, the CDPP organised regular political gatherings calling for early political elections, European democratic values and democratic dialogue.   

The Ministry of Justice banned the gatherings, and the ban was upheld by the country’s courts. Following an intervention by the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, the ban was later lifted – but only after it had been in place for three weeks.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The Strasbourg court ruled that the gatherings had been entirely peaceful and the ban had not been proportionate in the circumstances. Despite being temporary, the ban could still have had a chilling effect on the CDPP’s free speech – particularly on the eve of local elections.

The court therefore found that the ban had violated the party’s right to freedom of assembly.  


Following this case and a number of others, significant reforms were made to protect freedom of assembly in Moldova. In particular, in February 2008 a new law on freedom of assembly was passed, which established much stronger protections for the right to hold public gatherings. 

In 2011 the Supreme Court adopted a decision explaining how the domestic courts should apply legislation to properly protect free assembly. It highlighted the relevant case law of the Strasbourg court, and the need to apply the principle of proportionality.

In the seven years following the adoption of the new law, the Chișinău mayor’s office received 6,865 notifications for public events. It intervened in only 27 cases proposing to change the place and/or time of the event - and involved the courts in only 11 cases.

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers continues to monitor reforms to protect freedom of assembly for sexual minorities in Moldova.

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