RUSSIA: (7 April 2017) Day 3 - Jehovah's Witnesses hearing under way
Dont make angry the Russian Bear! The bear knows what extremism is.
On July 14, 2015, Russian customs officials took an unprecedented step against Jehovah’s Witnesses by denying importation of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, published by the Witnesses in the Russian language. Since March 2015, Russian authorities have stopped all shipments of the Witnesses’ religious publications, even though none of the literature intended for import is banned in Russia.
Thanks Dreary. I withdraw my statement two of my posts back that the article has been deleted.
Representative of the Axes: The Ministry of Justice encourages the Supreme Judiciary of the country to resort to double standards. Earlier, the court, with the support of the Ministry of Justice, held a consistent position that decisions against local organizations did not affect the rights of the Management Center. Now the position of the ministry has changed to the exact opposite. It is trying to extend the sanctions imposed on several local organizations to the center and to all the other 395 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Toporov analyzes the legal meaning of the concept of "entering the structure of a centralized organization". Referring to the legislation, statutes and legal opinions, Toporov shows that we are talking only about the canonical, spiritual connection. Local religious organizations are not branches and representations of a centralized organization.
Toporov explains that centralized and local organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses are not responsible for each other's obligations. The Center is not the founder of any of the LROs. Each of them has its own membership of founders of 10 or more citizens. Each LRO has its own unique name, its own charter, detached property, the right to enter into civil-law contracts. Referring to the judge, Toporov cites an analogy: the entire judicial system of Russia is a single structure, but the regional courts are not structural subdivisions of the Supreme Court, but are independent institutions.
Toporov explains that centralized and local organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses are not responsible for each other's obligations. The Center is not the founder of any of the LROs. Each of them has its own membership of founders of 10 or more citizens. Each LRO has its own unique name, its own charter, detached property, the right to enter into civil-law contracts.
If this was the real truthful situation then if a member of any JW congregation committed a 'sin' with a member of another JW congregation then the body of elders in each congregation could do nothing about. Why? Each congregation is its own religion and not related to any other JW congregation.
If JW lawyers are resorting to the use of 'theocratic warfare', i.e. lying to the courts, then the JWs have a very big problem. A victory by lying or deceit is not a victory but a loss.
If this was the real truthful situation then if a member of any JW congregation committed a 'sin' with a member of another JW congregation then the body of elders in each congregation could do nothing about. Why? Each congregation is its own religion and not related to others.
Just to confirm here, in the Registered trust deed of my congregation, they have mentioned that the congregation adheres to the biblical teaching and doctrines of the Ecclesiastical Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and that they are responsible to the creator, Jehovah God. No mention about the country's branch office. So legally, my congregation has no relation with the local branch office.
Toporov wondered why the overwhelming majority, more than 380 MROs of Russia, who never received any claims from the state, should be eliminated, even without any warning and the opportunity to change something? In the case there are hundreds and hundreds of results of inspections of various departments that did not reveal any violations in the activities of all these LROs. 22 Crimean MPO, registered under Russian law and not having committed any violations, are perplexed, for what they should be recognized as extremist, and their property confiscated? Why is the Moscow MRO, registered under the order of the ECHR and not having committed a single offense, should be subjected to such severe sanctions?
Drearyweather: Just to confirm here, in the Registered trust deed of my congregation, they have mentioned that the congregation adheres to the biblical teaching and doctrines of the Ecclesiastical Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and that they are responsible to the creator, Jehovah God. No mention about the country's branch office. So legally, my congregation has no relation with the local branch office.
The following document, in the introduction, establishes the relationship between each congregation and the JW branch office in each country. The evidence is admissable in Russia, and this also is the same setup in Russia as the instructions come from the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. The evidence was firmly established by an Australian Royal Commission.
Perhaps helpful as analogy:
Canon law (Wikipedia) is the body of laws and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church (both the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches), the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.
Likewise members of the JW local organisations are treated according to ecclesiastial law, authority and jurisdiction. In this Jehovahs Witnesses' "canon law" they have to follow the rules and policy of the governing body and the Russian branch office, which is the ecclesiastical authority.
This JW-own "canon law" and its jurisdiction - rights and responsibilites - are therefore different from the rights and responsibiliites of the legal registered MPOs mentioned in the hearing.
Although there might be no legal connection according to Civil right between the branch office and the local congregation and they are founded idependently, and members are not obliged to report each other, there is a absolute canonic responsibiliity to report anything, the money, the hours of service, the sins, child abuse to the branch office, to follow the ecclesiasticl instructions of the branch office.
The branch office even appoints the overseers of the local congregations. There is no democratic process of idependent congregations. Here is existant an absolute canon law of a the JW-church that says, the local congregation has to report to the headquarter. The central office decides also about selling of assets.
The "ecclesiastical authorities" in the local congregation, the elders, are very much depending on the decision of the "branch office" and are deciding few things indepentently. E.g. in cases of child abuse it is the elders duty to contact the legal desk of the "branch office".
These instructions are regulated in a guide "Shepherding the flock", which are part of the "canonic law" of JW together with letters by the branch or GB of JW, which has to be obeyed absolutely.
Statement by the representative of Maxim Novakov. His speech is devoted to the analysis of the so-called "new facts of extremist activity", to which the Ministry of Justice refers in its suit. We are talking about fines imposed on several MPOs because of the discovery of extremist materials in liturgical buildings.
The management center was not involved in business, so it did not have an effective opportunity to raise the issue of provocations. Meanwhile, no evidence for the court can have established strength. Judicial orders for imposition of fines can not have prejudicial force. Otherwise, this would be a violation of the right to a fair trial. Decisions referenced by the court are beautiful closed "boxes", but the content of these "boxes" is not so intuitive. To have a holistic picture and give an objective assessment, the court must assess the circumstances of what happened. The riot police rush into the services, throw all the men to the floor, they were not allowed to even raise their heads, while unknown men move uncontrollably through the building. The cameras recorded how the OMON stormed a liturgical building and police officers tossed illegal materials into the cabinet, and then they were "discovered."
Novakov tells an interesting detail, recently found in the materials of one case. It turned out that on one of the thrown publications there is an inscription testifying that this publication belongs to one of the Orthodox anti-sectarian centers!