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The sealing up of Lavra buildings by the Preserve entails criminal responsibility

On 9 August 2023, the Economic Court of the City of Kyiv adopted the decision to dismiss the claim of the Holy Dormition Kyiv Caves Lavra (a men’s monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) to the National Preserve ‘Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra’ on the invalidation of the juristic act concerning the unilateral termination by the National Preserve of the agreement concluded in 2013 on the use of the religious buildings and other property. The Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church informs that the decision of the court has not come into force yet, so there are no grounds for committing actions aimed at the termination of the monastery’s right to use the buildings and property, the Information and Education Department of the UOC reports.

The court has not drawn up the full text of the court decision yet. The motives and legal rules from which the court proceeded when taking the decision have not been set forth in writing and the full text of the decision has not been announced by the court.

At the same time, with regard to the fact that the termination of the agreement was wrongful and, therefore, in accordance with part 1 of art. 216 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, that refusal from the agreement did not engender legal consequences, and to the fact that the evidence and the circumstances of the case were examined incompletely and biasedly by the court, it is possible to assert that the decision has been taken with a significant violation of rules of substantive and procedural law, which will result in the filing of an appeal and the checking of the legality of the decision adopted by a court of appellate instance.

Despite the fact that the decision has not come into legal effect, the Preserve has decided to unlawfully seal up buildings rightfully used by the monastery on 10 August 2023. In relation thereto, we draw attention to the fact that any actions of the Preserve’s officials regarding the sealing up of the buildings or the prevention of their use by the monastery not only are unlawful but also qualify as arbitrariness, which entails criminal responsibility.

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