Ukrainian TV Channel To Take Dispute With Ultraright 'Hate' Group to European Human Rights Court


Ukraine's only nonprofit and independent television channel intends to seek recourse with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding a Ukrainian Supreme Court decision on January 21 that ruled a right-wing nationalist group’s reputation had been impugned.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling that said Hromadske TV had damaged the reputation of the nationalist group C14 by describing it as "neo-Nazi."

C14, which a U.S. State Department human rights report says is a "nationalist hate group," had initiated the litigation.

The lawsuit was in response to a tweet by Hromadske in May 2018 regarding news that C14 had apprehended a Brazilian national who had fought with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"Neo-Nazi group C14 has seized a former militant of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People’s Republic,' Brazilian Rafael Lusvarghi, and were going to hand him over to #Ukraine’s Security Service, one of the group members posted on Facebook," the social media post said.

A lower court in Kyiv on August 6 ordered Hromadske to refute its original description of the group by publishing the court's decision and pay $144 in court fees to C14.

The ruling shocked human rights groups both inside and outside of Ukraine.

“Now, Hromadske intends to challenge the Supreme Court's decision with the ECHR,” the TV station said on January 21.

In previous court appearances, C14's lawyer Viktor Moroz said his client "is a nationalist group but in no way is it a neo-Nazi [group]."

C14 was documented committing 40 acts of confrontation and violence during a one-year period starting from October 14, 2018, according to a monitoring report by Institute Respublica, a Ukrainian public advocacy group.

The report, published on January 20, stated that C14 had committed 25 acts "of a violent nature," including 10 incidents of violence toward people.