ICNL logo

The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 4, Issue 4, June 2002

A publication of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Table of Contents

Articles

The Legal Framework for Civil Society in East and Southeast Asia
Barnett F. Baron

A Flaw in Comparative Studies of the Tax Benefits for NGOs in Latin America
Antonio Itriago M. and Miguel
Itriago M

The Principle of Subsidiarity in Italy: It's Meaning as a "Horizontal" Principle and It's Recent Constitutional Recognition
Andrea Maltoni

A Synopsis of Law Reform for Iranian NGOs
Zahra (Sahar) Maranlou

Tax Treatment of NPOs in Macedonia
Prof. Dr. Vesna Pendovska

Competition and Abuse of Association Membership
Assoc. Prof. Ivo Telec

Reviews

Working with the Non-Profit Sector in South Africa
Working with the Non-Profit Sector in Nigeria

By the Charities Aid Foundation / Allavida
Reviewed by Karla Simon

Legal and Organizational Practices in Nonprofit Management
By Pacquale Ferraro
Reviewed by Karla Simon

Promoting Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Corporate Social Responsibility in Peru
By Javier de Belaúnde L. de R., Beatriz Parodi L., and Delia Muñoz M.
Reviewed by ICNL Staff

Social Responsibility: 12 Case Studies from Chile
by Soledad Teixido, Reinalina Chavarri, and Andrea Castro
Reviewed by ICNL Staff

Case Notes

Asia Pacific:
Hong Kong

Newly Independent States: Russia

North Africa:
Egypt

North America:
Canada | United States

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Ethiopia

Western Europe:
United Kingdom

Country Reports

International:
FATF | World Bank

Asia Pacific:
Regional | Australia | Indonesia | Japan | New Zealand

Central and Eastern Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina | Czech Republic | Hungary | Lithuania | Macedonia | Slovakia

Latin America & The Caribbean: Chile | Peru

Middle East and North Africa: Kuwait

Newly Independent States: Armenia | Azerbaijan | Kyrgyzstan

North America:
Canada | United States

South Asia:
India | Pakistan

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Nigeria | South Africa | Tanzania

Western Europe:
Regional | Belgium | Germany | Italy | United Kingdom

- - - - - - - - - -

Editorial Board

Case Notes: Newly Independent States

Russia

The Salvation Army in Moscow – A Less-Than-Decisive Victory

Excerpt from a paper by C. Joseph Boatwright (to be published in Vol 5, Iss 1 International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law)

The Salvation Army is an international religious and charitable organization with its world headquarters in London, England.[1] It began its ministries in Moscow in 1991 and was granted registration by the city the following year. [2] When the federal law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations” was passed in 1997, the Army set about becoming re-registered under that law.[3] The Army filed its application in February 1999 and was formally denied registration six months later by the City of Moscow government.[4]

The Salvation Army appealed the decision.[5] It first appealed the decision in the local Presnia District Court and was ordered to be liquidated.[6] Then the Army appealed to the Moscow City Court, where the ruling of the lower court was upheld in November 200.[7] The decision was based on the fact that because the Salvation Army had the word “army” in its name, it must be a “militarized organization bent on the violent overthrow of the Russian government.”[8] The Salvation Army, with no other option, appealed concurrently to the Russian Federation Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.[9]

The Russian Federation Constitutional Court, on appeal, finally ruled in favor of the Salvation Army just this past spring.[10] The Court held that the rejection of the registration was unconstitutional.[11] It reasoned that religious groups that had valid registrations prior to the 1997 Law could not subsequently have their valid registrations revoked by the new law.[12] The new requirements could only be applied to new groups applying for new registrations.[13] Thus, groups such as the Salvation Army must be allowed to re-register under the terms existing earlier.[14]

Although the Salvation Army won the appeal, the decision was limited.  The Court did not order the re-registration of the Salvation Army, but merely remanded the case to the Tangasky Court to decide the case based on the Constitutional Court decision.[15] This involves, as there is an existing liquidation order, requiring the lower court to go back and reevaluate the liquidation order in light of the Constitutional Court ruling.[16] The Salvation Army has been trying to get the Tangasky court to re-visit its ruling but as yet has had no success in its attempts to do so.[17]

On February 22, 2002, around the same time of the Russian Federation Constitutional Court’s decision, the Salvation Army was granted the status of being a Centralized Religious Organization (CRO) by the Justice Ministry of the Russian Federation.[18] The reason for this ruling was that the Salvation Army had five local religious organizations registered in Russia (the 1997 Law only requires three to become a CRO).[19] It was thought this ruling would benefit the nine unregistered religious organizations including the base in Moscow.[20] The reason for this was that obtaining CRO status means that an organization is exempt from the Article 9 section (1) 15 year requirement for registration.[21]

However, according to Salvation Army officials, the granting of CRO status is not as helpful as many might think.[22] The reason for this is that CRO status only “encourages but does not oblige local departments of justice to register local religious organizations.” According to the head of the department for re-registration of religious organizations at the Ministry of Justice, Victor Korolov, “the CRO status will not affect the Salvation Army because the local department acts independently and has the right to refuse the status if they think something is wrong with the application.”[23]

Currently, the status of the Salvation Army in Moscow has not changed.[24] The legal strategy for the Army’s obtaining recognition there is threefold. [25] First, the Army will try to obtain a decision from the Tangasky Court, vacating the liquidation order under the ruling of the Russian Federation Constitutional Court.[26] Then, the Salvation Army will file a new application in the city for CRO status.  Finally, the Army will return to the Presnia District Court, which originally denied re-registration, and have that ruling overturned because the case is now moot due to the grant of CRO status.[27] However, even if this strategy works, parts of the original ruling would still have the force of law under the Russian legal system.  These would include the improper characterization of the Army as a military group bent on the violent overthrow of the RF and, also, the finding that the members of the Army break Russian laws when they carry out their activities.[28]

The Salvation Army has faced many legal battles in Moscow. The 1997 law On Religious Conscience is a direct cause of those legal problems – although the Army has had favorable rulings from the courts, it appears that as long as the 1997 law is in effect with its current terms, the government will be able to cause problems for groups like the Salvation Army.

[1] http://www.SalvationArmy.org

[2] E-mail from Ken Baillie, Colonel, Salvation Army in Eastern Europe to Joseph Boatwright, JD Candidate, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law (May 24, 2002, 12:01 A.M. PDT) (on file with author).

[3] Id. according to Colonel Baillie, the Salvation Army thought it would have no problem getting re-registered and that the process would be merely be “pro-forma.”

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. the first appeal in the Presnia District Court took almost a year to complete and it was claimed by Russian authorities that the Army had violated the 1997 Russian Law by not registering with government and keeping the government aware of its activities. See also Kenston News Service, Moscow Bans Salvation Army, http://www.eclj.org  

[7] Id. The effect of this was that by now all the old registrations had expired.

[8] Salvation Army a Threat to Russia, Moscow Court Says , http://www.newsMax.com

[9] E-mail from Ken Baillie, Colonel, Salvation Army in Eastern Europe to Joseph Boatwright, JD Candidate, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law (May 24, 2002, 12:01 A.M. PDT) (on file with author). See also Patrick Goodenough, Salvation Army Wins Battle In Russia’s Courts, http://www.sclj.org (appeals were handled by the Slavic Center for Law and Justice which is a branch of the American Center for Law and Justice which is non-profit legal group located in the United States) ACLJ.org and ECLJ.org

[10] Decisive Victory Won in Salvation Army Case , http://www.sclj.org

[11] Id..

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id. See also Baillie, Supra note 97 (According to Baillie “the logic is that there must be a guaranteed continuity of legal entities”)

[15] Baillie, Supra note 97 (According to Baille, “ the ruling is limited in scope and merely requires courts to revisit instances in which the 1997 requirements had been improperly used to deny re-registration of groups registered before 1997.”)

[16] Id.

[17] Id. (According to Baillie, “the army has been trying for 3 months to have their case reheard but there have been numerous delay. A bomb threat was called in and the courthouse was emptied on one hearing date. Also, the judge transferred off the case and as yet no knew judge has been assigned”).

[18] Geraldine Fagan, Christianity Today, Russia Recognizes Salvation Army as a Religious Organization: Officials say that doesn’t restore status to the Army’s Moscow branch. http://www.aclj.org

[19] Id. (The five local religious organizations were located in St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Vyborg, Volgrad, and Rostov-on-Don.) See also 1997 Russian Law Article 9 section2 for requirements on registering a CRO.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] See Baillie Supra note 97

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] Id. (if this strategy is successful the Salvation Army will withdraw its pending case with the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg).

[28] Id. (According to Baillie, this improper characterization would extend beyond the registration process into other parts of the life including rentals, job harassment, and future registrations in other cities).

 

Copyright © 2012 The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)
ISSN: 1556-5157