by Attorney G. A. Krylova
Inspired with their easy success and the court’s complete agreement with their claims against Aum Senrike, the anti-cult committees decided not to content themselves with their achievements and to consolidate success.
Events went fast. On 18 April 1995, the court of first instance delivered a verdict to liquidate Aum Sunrise and ordered it to pay the Committee for Salvage of the Youth from Totalitarian Sects 20 billion rubles as damages for harm to the health of its believers resulted from Aum’s activity. On 19 June 1995, the Court of Appeal, after considering this verdict, found no reason to rescind or change it and it was enacted. And, on 21 July 1995 — just a month later — a similar claim was filed with Dzerjynsky People’s Court of St. Petersburg. The claim was lodged by the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality and required to liquidate the College Association for the Study of The Principle (the Philosophy of Unification) and to order the Association to pay the Committee 20 billion rubles as damages to compensate the Association’s victims for inflicted harm.
A Bit of History
Unification Church was incorporated in Russia on 21 May 1992 and spread its activity to a considerable degree. Besides there were several other public organizations incorporated and operated, that had no religious status but orientated themselves to the teaching of Sun Myung Moon. One of them was the St. Petersburg College Association for the Study of The Principle (CARP).
According to its Charter, recognized by the Justice Administration of the Mayor’s Office of St. Petersburg on 9 December 1991, the Association was organized to study, promote and fulfill the ideas of the teaching of the Principle. The nearness to God was of special importance amongst its other proclaimed values. The Charter stated that the Association might prepare and carry out educational programs and seminars, charitable activity, etc. These provisions of the basic document, that specified the organization’s work, didn’t raise any objection of the Justice Administration. Nor did the Association’s activity — for a long time.
It’s of no wonder that the activity stated by the Charter furthered the process of turning some part of CARP’S members to religion. While religion activity, according to the laws, has been allowed to be performed without the incorporation of a juristic person, the believers chose to establish a legal entity and, on 31 October 1994, drafted the Charter of the St. Petersburg affiliate of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity — Unification Church.
Meanwhile the attitude of Russian community towards new religion movements changed a lot and reaction of the authorities was immediate. Nine days after the recognition of the Charter, the Justice Administration of St. Petersburg warned the leader of CARP about no tolerance for violations of the laws. To the officials, the specific violations consisted of promotion by the leaders and activists of CARP, that "pursued the aim to involve citizens — first of all, the youth — in religious activity," their beliefs by means of lecturing, seminars, and missionary activity connected with holding of services.
The authorities didn’t seem to be embarrassed over the fact that the Act of Freedom of Religions declared the right of any person to choose, have, and promote religious beliefs, and freely perform religious rituals and ceremonies as well. The International Civil and Political Rights Pact (Article 18) declares the right of a person to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the right to have or adopt a religion or beliefs on one’s own; the right to preach one’s religion and beliefs both personally and in co-operation with others and in public or private way; the right to worship, perform religious and ritual ceremonies, and practice a religious teaching. Freedom of religion, including the right of a person to freely choose, have, promote, and practice religious beliefs, including organization of religious association, is also guaranteed by the Russian Constitution.
In this case, it was hardly true that the authorities considered sound reasons. As the Charter recognized by them stated the study of The Principle — a religious, in essence, teaching — it was absurd to assume that all members of CARP would be either atheists or believers of other religions and that no one would turn to the teaching of Unification Church.
Thus it was the authorities who violated the laws. The members of CARP might hold services, choose, have, and promote their religious beliefs because the laws secure the principles of freedom of religion and one was not allowed to limit anyone in exercising of these rights.
On 16 February 1995, the religious association of the St. Petersburg affiliate of Unification Church filed with the Justice Administration of the Mayor’s Office of St. Petersburg a petition to recognize the founding documents.
According to the Rules of Recognition of the Charters of Religious Associations of 8 June 1994 sanctioned by the Order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, such a petition was to be considered within a month after its filing.
However, the Chairperson of the Board of the St. Petersburg affiliate of Unification Church received a reply from the Deputy Director of the Justice Administration only six months later. The reply noticed that the documents had been sent to the Expert Advisory Council at the State Duma [Parliament] of Russia. (Later, still having not sent them to this Council, the Justice Administration rejected the petition to incorporate the affiliate of Unification Church; among the grounds was cited the judicial process against CARP).
The Claim of the Committee
On the same day, 21 July 1995, the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality filed a claim with Dzerjynsky People’s Court of St. Petersburg to liquidate CARP as an organization that systematically violated its Charter in its work and to order CARP to pay the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality 20 billion rubles as damages to compensate CARP’S victims for inflicted harm.
The claim stated that CARP, which was, in fact, a religious sect, destroyed the psychological foundations of human personality, family, and society medium by means of believers’ minds manipulation; forced a set of unnatural moral and ethic requirements that were alien to native Russian psychosocial background; by means of restrictions on sleep and nutrition, extensive monotonous work deteriorated the mental and physical health of CARP’S members, limited their mental development; and the last: the activity of CARP had added to exacerbation of the demographic conditions and worsening of the nation stock.
Absurdity of such statements is so evident that they could hardly be the subject of a trial. This notwithstanding, in violation of civil law, the claim, far-fetched and unfounded, was not rejected.
First, the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality had no right to demand neither liquidation nor reimbursement for harm.
According to the Civil Code of Russia, Part 3, Article 61, a claim to liquidate a juristic person may be filed with a court by a state agency or an institution of local government, that are granted the right to file such a clime. According to the Federal Act of Public Associations of 14 April 1995, Article 44, a claim to liquidate a local public organization is to be filed by the prosecutor of the corresponding subject of the Russian Federation. The right to be compensated for harm to mental and physical health is granted only to the subjects of violations, that is specific natural persons, victims.
The Committee had no legal interest in the case, that is its action was dealt with the protection of other persons’ right. This, according to the Civil Code of RSFSR , Article 129, Paragraph 1, should have entailed rejection of the claim. If the court found that the Committee came out to protect other persons’ right and didn’t rejected the claim in violation of the above provision, then, according to the Civil Code of RSFSR, Part 2, Article 33, the court ought to have informed the "victims" that the prosecution was instituted and it should have had them involved in the case as plaintiffs. For two years, CARP has demanded that the "victims" should appear at the trial, but the court not only repeatedly found it unnecessary to comply with such requirements, basing on the Prosecutor’s conclusion, but also refused to consider it at all.
In spite of requirements as to the content of a claim set by the Civil Code of RSFSR, Article 126, the Committee didn’t point out neither specific circumstances as a basis of its demands nor evidence that supported them nor list of documents that backed up the position of the plaintiff. It’s evident to any sensible individual — not only to a jurist — that loud announcements about exacerbation of the demographic conditions in the country and worsening of the nation stock and the like may not be considered neither as circumstances substantiating a claim nor as evidence in a civil case. The claim didn’t specify who, when, and under which circumstances suffered from CARP’S activity; specifically what constituted damage supposedly inflicted on the mental and physical health of unknown persons; specifically from what aftermath to their health suffered the persons involved in the work of CARP. Accordingly, there was given no evidence of medical nature that concrete harm was done to a concrete person, that is the findings of medical examinations on victims, certificates from medical institutions, the findings of expert forensic committees, etc., that stated the dangerousness of traumas (mental and physical) and prescribed treatment. The subjects of allegedly violated rights, victims, were depersonalized: there is still no list of victims provided who supposedly suffered from the actions of CARP, their circle hasn’t been defined. The natural persons who are members of CARP, V.N.Babkin, E.V.Russkikh, O.A.Stepanova, I.O.Nalimova, and whose names were given in the claim, are major and competent and not only haven’t submitted such claims but also categorically object against them.
The claim amount of 20 billion rubles is unsubstantiated and unfounded: the claim contains no references as to who, on what specifically and to whose benefit, will spent the award, that is it gives no cost of care for specific victims, no cost of their additional nourishment, no cost of resort treatment course, no extent of inflicted professional disability, etc.
Why we discuss here the short-comings of the claim in minute detail? They look to be evident. The basic why is to give a reader an opportunity to judge how courts themselves ignore the laws and neglect human rights.
This claim was patterned from the claim to liquidate Aum Senrike — the self-same accusations of mind manipulation, allegation of caused harm, and the claim amount of 20 billion rubles.
Basing on the claim of the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality, the court instituted legal proceedings, and, on 30 November 1995, the Justice Administration refused to recognize the Carter of the religious organization. Among the grounds, there was a reference to the legal proceedings against CARP (the claim of the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality) and impossibility "to grasp the idea of the dogmas, worship, and missionary activity of the St. Petersburg affiliate of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity — Unification Church and to recognize the above organization as a religious one." The rejection became the subject of an appeal, but the court of appeal hasn’t considered it as yet.
CARP submitted to the court a very blunt opinion about the claim, pointing out that its was preposterous and the demands in it were illegal. After having acquainted itself with this opinion, the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality filed a new claim repeating its far-fetched allegations against CARP and demanding 20 billion rubles more as compensation for moral damage to the parents of CARP’S members who [parents] are on the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality, namely N.V.Babkina, N.K.Russkikh, and E.V.Chernickova. According to the new claim, it was the estimated equivalent (in term of money) of "the personal nonmaterial rights and all belonging to them, as being parents and members of families, nonmaterial welfare that connect to their parenthood, families and family relationship." The claim also stated that CARP prevented the state of Russia to carry out its main constitutional duty — to observe and protect the citizens’ rights and liberties — thus encroaching on the foundation of the constitutional order. Of course, the claim hadn’t specified the way how an organization of less than 100 persons could prevent the state of Russia to carry out its main constitutional duty.
At the same time, an identical claim was filed by the Interregional Committee for Salvage from Totalitarian Sects — it was signed by N.K.Russkikh, its Chairperson and a member of the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality in one face — with People’s Court that demanded to order the organization to pay the same persons 20 billion rubles (N.K.Russkikh was among those to be paid to).
The total of the three claims had amounted to 60 billion rubles.
While the jurists set in authority didn’t admit that the committees had no right to file claims to liquidate CARP, they paid attention to the problem. And came time for heavy artillery.
On 15 January 1996, the Justice Administration of St. Petersburg lodged a claim to put a stop to CARP’S work. All the claims — those of the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality, the Interregional Committee for Salvage from Totalitarian Sects, and the Justice Administration’s — have been merged into one legal case. Thus there have been the three plaintiffs with claims to CARP.
It was evident to jurists and understood by officials from the Justice Administrations that in accordance with the Russian laws all these committees had no right granted by the law to file such claims with a court. Moreover, the evident preposterousness of their claims suggested that they had a vague notion about legal technicalities and it was very unlikely that they could back up the claims. It seems to be the whys that caused the Justice Administration, that had heretofore assumed a formally neutral position at the trial and had been a third party at the trail, to file its own claim.
The claim enclosed a note about an inquiry into CARP’S activity and a warning resulted from the findings. In addition to the above allegations of religious activity against CARP, the note also pointed out that, "it follows from the findings of psychologists that the activity of organizations that use in their work the teaching of S.M.Moon is connected with structural deformation of human personality and entails special psychological, psychiatric and social readjustment, and such organizations manifest the signs of ‘destructive cults’." The note said that it was necessary "to appoint experts to do an official psychological examination," but before its scheduling the note already concluded, "CARP systematically violates the Russian Constitution (Par.2, Art.17 and Par.1.2, Art.38), The International Civil and Political Rights Pact (Part 3, Art.18), and The Child’s Rights Convention (Part 1, Art.9), transforming the values of CARP’S members by means of especial psychological influence."
Doing its best to support the committees, the Justice Administration overlooked the fact that the Federal Act of Public Associations in its Article 42 stipulated that a Justice Administration might submit a claim with a court to stop the activity of a public association after two warnings in writing, if the warnings didn’t become the subject of an appeal and a court didn’t find them not to be based on laws. CARP filed an appeal against the warning of the Justice Administration with Octyabrskiy Federal Court of St. Petersburg, thus the claim of the Justice Administration was a premature action.
Facing the vigorous protest of the CARP’S representatives against the claims, the court closed the session and put off the hearings, having not started to consider the substance of the case.
Now the Prosecutor’s Office, that had taken a formally neutral position up to that time, filed a claim with the court to liquidate CARP; the Office grounded its demands by citing the self-same findings of the Justice Administration’s inquiry into CARP’S activity and repeating the accusations that CARP performed religious activity. Naturally, the claim contained no trace of the fact that some members of CARP had been trying to have the St. Petersburg affiliate of Unification Church recognized in a formal way for a long time, that the Justice Administration afforded itself to take the approach of red tape and procrastination when refused to recognize the affiliate, and that the appeal against the refusal was not considered in due terms.
Finally, having overcome formal obstacles, on 26 April 1996, that is more than nine months after the submission of the first claim, the court tried to resume the hearings.
The Direction of the Main Attack
As the court found it possible to institute legal proceeding basing on the claims of the Committees, which named parents of CARP’S members and their children as victims of physical and mental abuse, the attorneys of CARP, in accordance with the Civil Code of RSFSR, Article 33, tried to have the named persons participate in the trial as plaintiffs. Article 33 states that the person, on whose behalf the action has been instituted by a prosecutor or other organization that has the legal right to file a claim to protect other persons’ rights and interests, is to take part as plaintiff in the trial initiated. Of course, the court rejected the petitions to have these persons participate in the trial, as it was clear to everybody that the major and competent children didn’t share the viewpoint of their parents, members of the Committee, and would refuse to be held victims, and, therefore, would withdraw the claim as well. The court had no legal right to have ignored this. As to the parents, they were involved in the case as third parties, as otherwise the court in its verdict should have specified who specifically would be recipients of the amount claimed; it would have cast a shadow of doubt on the desire of the committees to be sole recipients. This position of the court was not based on laws and it was pointed out by the CARP’S attorneys.
Having considered the above petitions, the court went on to read out the claim of the Committee for the Protection of Family and Personality and to hear V.A.Rychkova’s [the Chairperson of this Committee] elucidations. In her passionate speech, she exposed "an act of hostility by the foreign intervener," that is Unification Church’s missionaries, and drew the court’s attention to "the especial threat to the society posed by the organization that possesses a psychological weapon" and wittingly caused harm to human health. She also mentioned the methods: zombieing, implanting with ideas, reform of thinking process. To Rychkova, as a result of their application CARP’S members had become psychologically, mentally and socially incapable. She recommended deprogramming as treatment.
Virtually, the Chairperson didn’t answer any concrete questions of the CARP’S attorneys. She failed to substantiate the claim amount. Nor did she explain why she held the parents to be victims, while not considering their children, members of CARP, as such (for the parents had been not undergone "zombieing," as opposed to the children). Nor did she explain who would be the recipient(s) of the award and on what purposes it should be spent. V.A.Rychkova failed to give any specific fact of CARP’S violation of any law provisions. Nor did she provide any medical certificate supporting the claim allegations of the deterioration of the physical and mental health of CARP’S members. Responding to repeated inquiries to try to substantiate somehow the claim amounts of the two claims of 40 billion rubles in total, the professional fighter against non-traditional religions began to tell about upsetting thoughts "that haunted distressed parents," when their children were taking a great interest in the teaching that is alien to Russian spirit.
Of course, the claim, which its author failed to clarify, sounded more impressive: "The activity of the organization — which is, in fact, a religious sect — results in destruction, through sectarians’ minds manipulation, of the psychological foundation of human personality, and therefore that of family and social medium’s; in harsh implanting with a set of unnatural moral and ethic requirements that are alien to the native psychosocial background of Russians and the real conditions of life in Russia; in creating and maintaining the state of mental overtension connected to the promotion of the inevitability of World War III and the end of the world thereby leading to neuroses, bouts of derangement, exacerbation of the demographic conditions in the country, and worsening of the nation stock."
The questions of the CARP’S attorneys made V.A.Rychkova and, perhaps, the court understand that the claims wanted at least minimal grounding. The Chairperson of the Committee asked the court to take a recession for her to prepare to further explanations and categorically renounced the claims the next day.
It was a bolt from the blue for the court and posed a question to the trial parties — and, first of all, to the prosecutor and the Justice Administration — about possible acceptance of the plaintiff’s refusal, as in this case the Committee would supposedly leave the parents of CARP’S members without protection. A heated discussion followed and resulted in everybody’s awareness that these parents, Babkin, Russkikh, and Chernickova, were also on the Interregional Committee for Salvage from Totalitarian Sects, that also demanded to liquidate CARP and exact 20 billion dollars’ award from it. Thus the officials were not lonely in their struggle, as they were supported by general public in the person of the above individuals. (Meanwhile, according to the Civil Code of RSFSR, the court had no right to discuss the plaintiff’s refusal but ought to have accepted it immediately.)
Then the court took a recession for two weeks and asked the Interregional Committee for Salvage from Totalitarian Sects to substantiate its claim properly. However, it was unclear why the court didn’t go on to the hearings on subject of the claim of the Prosecutor or Interregional Committee at once. The attorneys of CARP had formed an opinion that their opponents, and also the court, that made its posture quite clear (for it was hardly reasonable to suppose that the court not only didn’t know the laws but also, being forced by the demand of the CARP’S attorneys to turn to the body of the laws, nevertheless rendered the decisions that went against the laws), wished to digest the results of the first two days of the hearings and take them into account in the future.
The recession come to its end, but the court failed to resume the hearings: the Interregional Committee for Salvage from Totalitarian Sects asked more time to prepare for the trial. Having not inquired what was the cause that made it impossible to prepare for the trial within so long a time, the court agreed for more time. The attorneys of CARP filed a petition with the court to order the plaintiff to specify the claim, that is to define more exactly the amount claimed, the list of victims, etc., and to provide specific proof of the claim, as they felt that the trial clearly became the subject of procrastination. The court complied with the petition and ordered the Interregional Committee to make the claim more specific. The court didn’t go on to the Prosecutor’s claim.
The new session began with traditional petitions filed by the defendant’s party to have the members of CARP and their parents participate in the trial as plaintiffs. According to the allegations by the Interregional Committee, these person suffered from CARP’S work. Of course, the court rejected all the petitions. Then the Committee for the Protection was offered to provide a specified claim according to the court’s order. However it turned out that the two months were not enough time to prepare it and the presiding judge put off the hearing till the next day, stating that she would fine the Committee for non-execution of the court’s order in case a new claim be not submitted.
This severe warning resulted in now the third claim, filed on 9 July 1996 and absolutely identical to the previous two ones. It also stated that CARP "controls the minds and way of life of the member of the families..., has taken away their rights and liberties.... Thus, being a public organization, CARP has prevented the state of Russia to carry out in regard to the above young citizens of Russia, as members of their families, its main constitutional duty — to observe and protect their human and civil rights and liberties — ... that constitutes an encroachment on the constitutional order..."
The court seemed to understand that it was very unlikely that the Committee for the Protection was capable of providing something more specific than the allegations against CARP of encroachment on the constitutional order and preventing the state to protect the youth and family and went on to read out the claim of the Interregional Committee.
Then the floor was given to its Chairperson Russkikh to explain the claim. She didn’t confined oneself to the claim that accused CARP of encroachment on the constitutional order. CARP turned socially active and worthwhile individuals, she said, into passive persons by means of psychological suppression and mind control, etc. The Chairperson claimed that the question about a threat to society posed by Unification Church, and CARP as its part, was repeatedly put to a number of the governments of European countries and the European Parliament, where these organizations had long been recognized to be totalitarian sects or destructive cults that used indoctrination and zombieing. She said that the result of this influence, that involved drugs, was psychomutation of personality. The organization exercised mind control on the level of under-cortex layers, therefore, in fact, suppressing the left hemisphere functions responsible for logic and rational thinking. The leaders of the organization who called on its members to perceive God with their hearts affecting them through prayers and religious songs are especially to blame. Her own explanations that she attended almost all their seminars and services for several years notwithstanding, Russkikh accused CARP that it was closed to the man in the street. She felt that CARP’S members had given up active life, because of the organization’s prohibitions they didn’t read books and received no information about the life in Russia, and they had developed addiction to the teaching of S.M.Moon similar to drug addiction. They abandoned their families, "their intellect reduced." The plaintiff cited the activity of "The Network for Informing About Cults" as positive experience of "deprogramming". She concluded her speech with the words that all CARP’S members, including her daughter Eugenia, were victims and needed involuntary inpatient psychiatric treatment for 16 months. "A question about isolation, work with family is being considered — all these thing entail a lot of money." (Vol.2 of Case 2-2831, p.12)
Russkikh read out her speech from a previously composed text and, while the laws stated that the court and the parties should have received the text and it could have been included in the case records, the court refused to comply with legitimate demands of the CARP’S attorneys to provide the text. It should be noted that the court prohibited to use a tape recorder.
Summarizing the answers of Russkikh to the question asked by Robert Beebe, one of the CARP’S leaders, and the attorneys, one could arrive to a general conclusion that, according to her:
The philosophy of the Principle was alien to Russia and its adoption by Russians might result only from the aggression by a foreign organization that used psychological and psychiatric techniques to archive world superiority.
The principle of freedom of religion was incapable of being applied to new religious organizations, as all of them were sects that made the people subjected to manipulation somewhat psychologically, intellectually, and socially incompetent.
It was unlikely that a Russian might become interested in an unconventional religion and, furthermore, adopt other religion or become an activist of a religious organization voluntarily, but only as a result of "a dependent personality disorder."
CARP’S members manifested evident signs of zombieing: they always read books with Moon’s portraits and other religious literature, prayed, paid no attention to material welfare.
The study of the English language by CARP’S members was nothing else than special neurolinguistic programming that lead to bouts of derangement.
Psychomutation of personality, in other words, dependent development of personality, was listed in Section F 60.7 of ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, tenth version).
As CARP’S members had been zombied, they needed to be deprogrammed, the process of which was detailed in special literature and consisted of recovery of the mental health and social rehabilitation of the individual put in isolation from the sect.
The court should deliver a verdict to rehabilitate CARP’S members, as they didn’t want to undergo treatment voluntarily, with possible isolation from the society at special rehabilitation centers.
A rehabilitation center was an secluded boarding-house, the average term of rehabilitation was about 16 months of psychiatrists and psychologists’ incessant work to restore normal mentality.
The amount of 20 billion rubles should be paid to the Committee to carry out all necessary rehabilitation activities; N.K.Russkikh failed to explain why the amount might not be paid to the alleged victims.
The additional amount of 20 billion rubles of the new claim should be paid, as it was asked by N.K.Russkikh, to the Committee as damages for detriment to the suffered parents, that is to her, Mr.Babkin, Mrs.Chernickova, and other persons whose circle she also failed to outline.
She could not name specific victims of CARP’S work beyond the three present parents, Russkikh, Babkin, and Chernickova; as to other parents, especially those 35 parents who signed a public letter with a protest against the trial and stated that they had no objections against their children’s involvement in CARP, they were "terrible, fallen creatures."
The Chairperson of the Committee concluded her speech with the words that expressed her certainty that the Committee could provide leadership for deprogramming process in case of funding.
N.K.Russkikh had to admit that:
She didn’t interview any children who were members of CARP when the Interregional Committee considered the question to file a claim.
She failed to explain how specifically CARP prevented the state of Russia "to carry out its main constitutional duty" and how it "encroaches on the foundation of constitutional order."
All those she called "children" were major and their competence was not limited by a court order.
She was unable to provide any medical certificates that supported the fact of CARP’S members and their parents’ health deterioration; she was unaware whether any former or present member of CARP saw a psychiatrist because of health deterioration.
No one of children who were CARP’S members refused to live at home; they watched TV, etc.
She could not provide concrete evidence that the will of CARP’S member was being suppressed by the organization; and that was her subjective opinion based on national and international studies (we will discuss this point later).
The trials of activists of "The Network for Informing About Cults", including Tad Patrick, and courts’ decisions to order to pay damages to victims of "deprogramming" were just evidence that totalitarian sects were powerful and dangerous, and therefore might not be considered by a Russian court.
N.K.Russkikh was still unable to answer a question who were, according to the claim, the victims of and who suffered from CARP’S activity. Nor did she clarify the following problem: if CARP’S members needed rehabilitation, weren’t they the alleged victims? In the light of this situation the court granted the Committee time to make its position more certain.
In this connection, the CARP’S attorneys explained to N.K.Russkikh that the court might not order to have CARP’S member "undergo rehabilitation and recovery of their intellect" or to isolate them from CARP or Unification Church. The court agreed with this explanation absolutely. However the Chairperson of the Committee kept insisting that if the court held the best interests of the youth at heart then these problems should be solved at the same trial, or there was no sense in CARP liquidation, as children would continue to believe in the teaching of Moon. She proposed as a least step to have CARP’S leaders be deported from Russia by appropriate agencies.
Also, the CARP’S attorneys filed a petition to oblige the Interregional Committee to provide evidence, as the Civil Code of RSFSR, Part 1, Article 50, stipulated that a plaintiff should prove the facts referred to as the grounds of its demands. The ungroundedness of the loud statements by N.K.Russkikh not only limited the defense of CARP, for the organization had been deprived of the possibility to refute concrete accusations, but also prevented the court to comply with the claim of the Committee.
The court was so tired by the attempts of N.K.Russkikh to reform the civil laws in the scope of this single trial that it ordered N.K.Russkikh to provide evidence to ground the Committee’s demands together with a more specified claim and took another recession.
The final fruits of the Committee’s members’ reflections was the statement of N.K.Russkikh that the Committee had made more specific only one point of the claim: the circle of victims considered to be undefined and subject to determination only at the trial.
The following was provided to the court as evidence that CARP’S activity was dangerous: the claims of the Committee’s members filed with the Justice Administration; the statements by Russian Orthodox Church about the dangerousness of sectarianism; "expert" findings concerning the dangerousness of new religious movements; and also the books and booklets published by Unification Church, including the works of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. It turned out that the Committee had been supplied with all the materials by the Justice Administration, thus the court, the parties, and the attending public had one more possibility to see the persons behind the Committee.
Sine Ire et Studio (Without Anger and Bias)
While the discussion whether to include these materials in the case records and material as evidence, the incautious words of a judge not only showed the court’s attitude to CARP and Unification Church (it might have been inferred earlier from the progress of the process) but also virtually exploded the session.
For all the time, the choice of terms by the parties and the court had been a burning issue for the CARP’S representatives. It had become a usual practice not only for the Interregional Committee but also for the judges, (People’s) assessors, the prosecuting party, and the Justice Administration’s representatives to use such words as "sect" and "totalitarian sect." The CARP’S attorneys had to claim that, in the Russian language, these words were colored negatively; that they were not used by the laws of the Russian Federation; that they had no legal meaning; and that CARP had been incorporated as a public organization and Unification Church as a religious one.
The court had to agree with the CARP’S attorneys that all religious organizations were equal in the eyes of the law, and therefore no such an organization might be called "a sect", and asked the parties not to use these words and to choose more appropriate terms of address to the defendant in the future.
This notwithstanding, while the discussion whether to include the book of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in the case materials, the formal objectivity vanished into thin air. Holding the book in his hands, one of the assessors asked aloud, "What is it? Mein Kampf?"
In accordance with the Civil Code of RSFSR, Articles 17, 18, the assessor was immediately challenged by the CARP’S representatives because his words were regarded as raising a doubt about his objectivity and unbiasness. It was evident that the assessor, who was not familiar with the works of the religion’s founder, the study of which was stated as an objective of the organization in its Charter, and compared the works with the well-known book by Adolf Hitler, thereby determined his attitude to the trial outcome.
The court rejected the challenge. In its decision on the issue, it stated that the assessor asked a question about the document that contained no judgment and expressed no opinion on the subject of the case. Thus the court found no reason to challenge his objectivity. It should be noted that the court found it unnecessary to include in the decision the assessor’s words, which became the cause of the challenge.
Then followed a challenge to all the judges and assessors, as the decision and its text itself, in the eyes of the defendant, testified that the trial was unfair. The CARP’S attorneys cited not only provisions of the Russian laws but also Article 14 of the International Civil and Political Rights Pact, that declared the right of any individual to get a fair and public trial by a competent, independent, and unbiased court to determine his/her rights and duties. The court found it not offense to compare the book of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon with the book by Adolf Hitler, thus, in fact, sharing the opinion of the assessor and showing its attitude to the defendant as well.
However the challenge to the court was rejected. This time, the decision quoted the question, "What is it? A kind of Mein Kampf?", but pointed out that the court, rejecting the challenge, "hadn’t shared the opinion of the assessor, but evaluated the question asked by one of its member."
Freedom of Conscience in Russia by G. A. Krylova Part II