International Memorial appeals against court’s decision on liquidation


On January 28, 2022, lawyers of International Memorial filed an appeal against the judgment of the Supreme Court of 28 December 2021 ordering the liquidation of the organization for its failure to comply with the requirements of the Foreign Agents Act.

The submission (27 pages and dozens of pages of annexes) summarizes the progress of the case and explains in detail why the judgment should be reversed.

Main arguments:

The dissolution of International Memorial for the lack of «foreign agent labelling» (containing information that an organisationhas been formally declared «foregin agent» and put on the relevant list) runs contrary to the international obligations of the Russian Federation (as pointed out by Five UN committees: Committee Against Torture, Human Rights Committee, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, have pointed out that the Russian legislation on non-commercial organizations, the violation of which is imputed to Memorial, contradicts a number of international law provisions which take precedence over the domestic legislation).

Lack of labeling is not a gross and/or systematic breach of the law (it is not harmful and does not pose danger to any protected interests; International Memorial has always acted in good faith and corrected these violations; the requirements for the content of the label cannot be considered «clear and definite», contrary to what the Supreme Court has stated in as described by the Supreme Court in its judgmentdecision; the alleged violations cannot be considered repeated and/or systematic; the liquidation of International Memorial, which has already paid fines for the failure to label a number of informational materials, contravenes the non bis in idem principle).

Liquidation of International Memorial is a disproportionate measure (the trial court failed to take into consideration the importance of the activities of International Memorial to the Russian society, and refrained from assessing the proportionality of the liquidation, and refused to hear witnesses who could testify on the activities of International Memorial).

The first-instance court has determined the rights and obligations not only of International Memorial, but also of third parties who were not allowed to take part in the proceedings (the court has rejected leave to appear by one of the founders of the organization, as well as three structural divisions (including two foreign sub-organisation) of International Memorial).

Based on these and other arguments, International Memorial has asked the Appel Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to quash the judgment of its Administrative Chamber of 28 December 2021 and to dismiss the administrative action of the Prosecutor General on the liquidation of the International public organization "International historical-educational, charitable and human rights society «Memorial» and its subdivisions.