Major Foreign NGO in Russia to Appeal Closure

Justice Initiative, a foreign non-governmental organization which helped Chechens get state compensation for crimes against humanity totaling over 10 million euros (almost $13 million), appealed its closure in a Moscow court, Russia’s Kommersant daily said on Friday.

The Russian Justice Ministry excluded Justice Initiative, a major foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) providing legal assistance to Russians in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), from the list of authorized non-governmental organizations over an overdue report in February. The move effectively barred the NGO from operating in Russia.

“We appealed the ruling of Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court, which declined our request for re-registration. The date of hearings in the Moscow City Court is yet to be announced, but we hope for success,” the organization’s executive director, Vanessa Kogan, said.

“The point is that we failed to submit a report that all foreign non-profit organization must present. This was really our mistake. However, what is an object of concern for us today is the fact that the ministry does not want to register us again,” Kogan said in an interview with Voice of Russian in March.

The organization initially filed to register as a Russian NGO, but withdrew the request due to the bill on NGOs that requires all politically active nongovernmental groups who receive foreign funding to publicly label themselves “foreign agents.” Failure to comply can result in jail terms of up to four years for NGO employees.


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