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Kimlya and Others v. Russia, Nos. 76836/01, 32782/03, ECtHR (First Section), 1 October 2009


Recognition of legal-entity status to religious groups. Refusal to register religious groups for failure to demonstrate existence in a given territory for at least fifteen years or affiliation to a centralised religious organisation.

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR
Art. 11 ECHR


A domestic legislation that affords to religious groups a restricted status which does not allow the members of such a group to enjoy effectively their right to freedom of religion, thus rendering such a right illusory and theoretical rather than practical and effective, entails a breach of the Convention.

(In the present case, the Court found that the refusal of Russian authorities to register two branches of the Church of Scientology as religious organisations entailed a breach of Article 9 interpreted in the light of Article 11 of the Convention).


The present judgment reflects the previous decision Church of Scientology Moscow and Others v. Russia, where the Court, by reversing the order of the relevant normative references, had found a violation of article 11 read in the light of article 9 of the Convention.