Memorandum on establishment of International Expert Commission for Evaluation of Events on Bolotnaya Square, Moscow on May 6, 2012

  1. In response to appeals by Russian journalists and human rights defenders a number of leading international human rights organizations  announce the creation of the International Expert Commission for Evaluation of Events on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on May 6, 2012 (“the  Commission”).
  2. The main aim of the Commission is to analyse the events of May 6 2012 in Moscow and evaluate the responses by the relevant authorities in terms of their compatibility with international standards on freedom of assembly and international standards of policing.
  3. The objectives of the Commission:
    1) To outline the chronology of the events of May 6 2012,
    2) To assess the compatibility of the relevant legal framework (including the concept of mass riots) with international human rights standards,
    3) To review the measures taken by the police and the authorities in preparation, during and after the assembly, and consider whether they were  justified, necessary and proportional,
    4) To review any legal cases resulting from the events of May 6 (focusing in particular on the so-called ”Bolotnaya case”),
    5) To provide a full report of the findings,
    6) Develop recommendations to relevant authorities on improving the situation.
  4. The Commission will base its work on the following materials:
    - evidence from the official investigation, any reports and statements made by  relevant authorities, and any  other official information available on the case,
    - information from public investigations and observations, gathered by human rights defenders,  journalists and others,
    - reports by observers and journalists, witness testimonies and video materials.
  5. The founding organizations of the Commission are the following:
    Amnesty International,
    Centre de la Protection Internationale,
    European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH),
    Fédération Internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme (FIDH),
    International Civil Initiative for OSCE (ICI OSCE),
    International Platform «Civic Solidarity»,
    Human Rights Watch.

    Each founding organization will  nominate a representative as a contact person to oversee the mandate, which the Commission follows, and facilitate communication between the Commission and international intergovernmental organizations (the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Council of Europe etc.), and  other relevant institutions.

  6. The Commission consists of leading experts on issues of peaceful assemblies and policing measures:
    Adam Bodnar (Poland),
    Michael Hamilton (United Kingdom),
    Neil Jarman (United Kingdom),
    Sarah Knuckey (USA),
    Oleg Martynenko (Ukraine),
    Sergei Ostaf (Moldova),
    Yevgeniy Zhovtis (Kazakhstan).
  7. The Commission may involve in its work other experts on either a permanent or a temporary basis. The decision to include other experts in the Commission will  be taken by the current members with the agreement of the representatives of the founding organizations.
  8. The Commission will base its work on universal and regional norms and standards regulating assemblies as well as measures to protect public order during  assembles, provided by the following international documents: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including its interpretation in the opinions of the Human Rights Committee; European Convention on Human Rights, including the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights; OSCE ODIHR and Venice Commission Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assemblies.
  9. The founding organizations of the Commission have established the Secretariat, to provide constant technical assistance to the work of the Commission. The address of the Secretariat is
  10. Being a founding organization of the Commission is not an endorsement of the Commission’s findings. Each founding organization reserves the right to its own views and opinions about the Commission’s findings and will  make use of the Commission’s findings only in ways that are appropriate for the founding organization.