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Jehovah’s Witnesses of Moscow and Others v. Russia, No. 302/02, ECtHR (First Section), 10 June 2010


Dissolution of a religious community and banning of its activity without relevant and sufficient reasons. Refusal to register a certain community as a religious organisation.

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR
Art. 11 ECHR


1. When the reasons for refusing registration have had no legal or factual basis, the domestic authorities did not act in good faith and neglected their duty of neutrality and impartiality vis-à-vis a religious community.

2. The refusal of blood transfusion is an expression of the free will of the individual community members who exercised their right to personal autonomy in the sphere of health care protected under the Convention.

(In the present case, domestic authorities ordered the dissolution of the Moscow branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a permanent ban on its activities on the grounds that such community had engaged in coercion, lured children into the organisation or encouraged suicide, breached its members’ right to respect for their private life, infringed the parental rights of non-community parents, encouraged members to refuse blood transfusions and incited them not to comply with civic duties).


According to the ECtHR, in the case at hand there has been a violation of article 9 read in the light of Article 11 of the Convention on account of the dissolution of the applicant community and the banning of its activity.
Moreover, the ECtHR unanimously found that denial of registration of the applicant community by the Russian authorities violated article 11 in light of article 9 of the Convention.