Case no 28973/95
The Commission notes that the first question which arises in this case is whether the fact that the applicant association was unable to register prevented it from pursuing its objectives and thus constituted any interference with the applicant's right to freedom of association (cf., e.g., No. 18874/91, Dec. 12.1.94, D.R. 76, p. 44).
However, the Commission considers that this question can remain unanswered, because, even supposing that there was an interference, that interference would have been justified under paragraph 2 of Article 11 (Art. 11) of the Convention, for the following reasons.
Restrictions on the exercise of the right guaranteed by this Article are permitted if they are "prescribed by law" and "necessary in a democratic society" to achieve one of the legitimate aims listed in Article 11 para. 2 (Art. 11-2).
In this case the Commission notes that the provisions of the Romanian Constitution combined with the provisions of Law No. 21 of 6 February 1924 and its implementing Regulations empower the courts to refuse registration in certain cases. These provisions were accessible, foreseeable in their effects and compatible with the pre-eminence of the rule of law.
As to the legitimacy of the interference, the Commission considers that the aim pursued by the authorities was the protection of the rights and freedoms of others which is one of the legitimate aims set out in Article 11 para. 2 (Art. 11-2) of the Convention.
With regard to the necessity of the measure, the Commission recalls that this implies "a pressing social need" and that States have a margin of appreciation in this area (cf. Eur. Court HR, Handyside v. United Kingdom judgment of 7 December 1976, Series A no. 24, p. 22, para. 48).
The Commission notes that the domestic courts, pursuant to the relevant legal provisions, indicated to the applicants that they should obtain, as the Ministry of Justice had suggested, the agreement of the League for the Defence of Human Rights based in Bucharest, already registered as a legal person.
As the applicants did not obtain this agreement, nor did they apply for registration under a different name, the Commission considers that the refusal of the courts to register the applicant association cannot be regarded as unreasonable, having regard in particular to the possibility of confusion between the applicant association's name and that of the Bucharest League.
Therefore, the Commission considers that the refusal to register the association can be regarded as a necessary measure in a democratic society, having regard to the margin of appreciation States enjoy.
It follows that, in so far as there was an interference with the applicants' right to freedom of association, the interference was justified under Article 11 para. 2 (Art. 11-2) of the Convention (cf. also No. 18874/91, Dec. 12.1.94, D.R. 76-A, p. 44). The application must therefore be rejected as manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.back