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Statement of the Coalition for Media Advocacy

The Coalition for Media Advocacy chaired by the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and composed of ten more NGOs, applied to Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia and the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) with a statement. The Coalition demands immediate termination of an ongoing online auction announced by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for outsourcing management of state-owned Alfa-Com Ltd. (ID №203829250) for the period of four years. Alfa Com Ltd. was established on the basis of Georgian TeleRadioCenter Ltd. and is its legal successor. The company exploits total of 36 towers throughout the country, including Tbilisi broadcasting tower that transfers TV, radio, telephone or other communication signals and provides service to more than 30 radios and 16 TV companies.

2011-08-01 06:49 See more

GYLA Files in the Constitutional Court against Classification of Duration of Telephone Tapping as Secret

Today, the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association filed against paragraph 2, Article 10 of the Law of Georgia on Operative and Investigative Activities which regulates telephone tapping by law enforcement authorities. Although the law regulates telephone tapping, it fails to define duration of the measure. Duration is regulated by a departmental normative act of an agency, which in its turn is classified as secret. Therefore, duration of authorization of law enforcement officers for telephone tapping is unknown for public, whereas general terms of duration provided for by para. 2 of Article 10 of the Law of Georgia on Operational and Investigative Activities do not give an opportunity to identify whether telephone communications of a person concerned are intercepted. GYLA believes that classification of duration of the operative and investigative activities as secret violates the right to privacy and personal communication envisaged by Articles 16, 20 and 41 of the Constitution of Georgia.

2011-07-27 09:43 See more

GYLA Applies to the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Georgia and the Ministry of the Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia

The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association has learned that on July 12, 2011, based on the application of the director of Park Place JSC, the police started evition of IDPs from the building located at 80 Chavchavadze Ave (former Hotel Vake) in Tbilisi. It should be noted that the building has the status of a compact settlement place and internally displace persons registered in the building have been living there since 1991. Under the Interior Minister's N747 ordinance dated May 24, 2007, upon submission of an IDP card (certifying lawful ownership), the police has to stop procedures for eviction of IDPs from places of compact settlement. With GYLA's assistance, IDPs applied to the Ministry of Interior Affairs; however, we are still unaware of measures undertaken in response to the application.  Furthermore, it should be considered that at the same time, under the Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for Vacating Buildings/Relocating IDPs for the Purpose of Providing IDPs with Durable Housing Solutions, the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA) delivered individual notices to IDPs that listed July 25 as an estimated eviction date. 

2011-07-22 13:17 See more

Statement of the Coalition for Media Advocacy

The Coalition for Media Advocacy is addressing to Chief Prosecutor of Georgia Murtaz Zodelava, Minister of Interior Affairs Vano Merabishvili and Secretary of Securitry Council Giga Bokeria with an official appeal to declassify the photojournalists’ case. The photojournalists, Zurab Kurtsikidze (European Photo Agency representative), Giorgi Abdaladze (a photograph of the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Georgia) and Irakli Gedenidze (a photograph of the press service of the president’s administration) were arrested by the Interior Ministry’s department of counter intelligence. The Coalition for Media Advocacy is demanding to be provided with an official written response on whether the case of the arrested photojournalists entirely constitutes information designated as state secret or whether only parts of the case have been classified. Furthermore, the Coalition is demanding to be informed about level and duration of the classification and identify of officials that have authorized classification of the case.

2011-07-21 09:55 See more

GYLA's Statement on Results of Examination Carried out by MIA's General Inspection about Violations Committed during the Dispersal of the May 26 Rally

On July 15, 2011, the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Georgia released a statement saying that based on the footage disseminated by media outlets, the office of the prosecutor, statements of the public defender and NGOs, it carried out the examination of disciplinary violations committed by employees of the MIA during the dispersal of the May 26, 2011 rally and punished 16 employees, including by dismissing 4 employees of the Interior Ministry.  With regards to the noted statement, GYLA believes that the Interior Ministry's response to information disseminated by media outlets, as well as statements of NGOs and the public defender is important for government accountability and prevention of any future offences by employees of the Interior Ministry. However, GYLA believes that the information released by the Ministry fails to reveal specific criminal offences that noted individuals were held liable for or positions that they were holding. The statement says nothing about whether the MIA officers that were involved in the process of planning the May 26 rally dispersal and were personally responsible for carrying out the operation were punished. 

2011-07-20 12:48 See more

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association for Effective Protection and Promotion of Basic Labor Rights in Georgia

From December 20, 2010 to December 2011 GYLA has been implementing the EU-funded new project the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association for Effective Protection and Promotion of Basic Labor Rights in Georgia. The project covers Tbilisi and seven regions of Georgia, where GYLA’s regional offices are located – Kutaisi, Adjara, Gori, Rustavi, Telavi, Ozurgeti and Dusheti. The project is implemented on the basis of the GYLA’s strategic approach that incorporates improvement of civil rights practice in the country by means of combination of three components: ensuring effective legislation, responding to and preventing individual civil rights violations and raising legal awareness of public. Based on the noted strategy, the project has three main strands: 1. In order to improve applicable labor laws and harmonize them with the European standards, GYLA, with assistance of its parliamentary secretary and in cooperation with corresponding state agencies and other NGOs, will prepare and lobby legal drafts in the parliament.

2011-07-18 14:22 See more

Statement of the Georgian Coalition for the International Criminal Court on the International Justice Day

On the International Day of Justice, celebrated on July 17 worldwide, the Georgian Coalition for the International Criminal Court composed of the following NGOs - the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, the Human Rights Centre, Human Rights Priority, the union ‘Article 42 of the Constitution’, the Centre for the Protection of Constitutional Rights, the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation - addresses and once more calls for the governments of the Russian Federation and Georgia to effectively investigate crimes committed during the August 2008 war. In the August 2008 war mass and gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law occured, including signs of ethnic cleansing against ethnic Georgians, premeditated killings of civilians were committed, facts of disappearance, mass destruction of personal property, forceful banishment, unlawful arrests, captivity, torture and inhumane treatment occurred on both sides of the conflict.   A number of persons affected by the August war applied to the investigative agencies of Georgia and the Russian Federation, seeking investigation into the crimes committed against them. Corresponding official agencies on both sides declare that investigation of war crimes is ongoing but as of now, there are no signs of progress or considerable efforts for the purpose of ensuring effective investigation on part of either of the conflict sides. Furthermore, it should be noted that specifics of investigation of war crimes in Russia and Georgia differ to a certain extent.

2011-07-18 13:19 See more

Address of NGOs to Political Parties Working on Election Reforms

Since November 2010 the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Transparency International – Georgia, the New Generation – New Initiative (nGnI) and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) have been actively observing the process of negotiations for improvement of election environment, supported by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES). The process was transparent as a number of international and local NGOs that in their turn updated public on developments in the negotiations, could freely attend it. As you are aware, on June 27, 2011, five political parties signed an agreement offered by the ruling party on measures for improvement of the election environment. Later the agreement was signed by several other political parties.    On July 8, 2011, the first meeting of the editorial group working on the election reform was held at the Parliament of Georgia. The group focuses on issues that will be reflected in the election legislation on the basis of the agreement between the stakeholders. The editorial group is scheduled to hold the second meeting in two weeks. The meeting will not be attended by representatives of non-governmental and international organizations. Public is unaware of the composition and the working format of the group.

2011-07-13 13:30 See more

GYLA’s Research State Policy toward IDPs (Analysis of policy deficiencies) Presentation

On July 11, 2011, at 12:00 p.m. the Georgian Young Lawyers‘ Association held a presentation of outcomes of the project Durable solutions – a Way Forward for IDPs in Georgia and the research State Policy toward IDPs, Analysis of Policy Deficiencies. Since 2010, the Georgian Young Lawyers‘ Association in partnership with the Danish Refugee Council has been implementing the project Durable Solutions – a Way Forward for IDPs in Georgia, which has been financially supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). The project entailed various activities, including legal assistance, raising awareness, advocacy and monitoring of evictions. During the project implementation, several significant issues were identified that are related to certain problems. In order to analyze the problems, the research State Policy toward IDPs, Analysis of Policy Deficiencies was prepared. The research analyzes the issues that affected IDPs the most during the project implementation. Specifically, it was identified that granting the IDP status remains to be problematic, as some of the internally displaced persons still have not received the status. Furthermore, provision of financial compensation is also problematic, which is one the one hand caused by ambiguity of applicable norms.

2011-07-11 10:22 See more

GYLA’s Lawyers Defending Interests of the Detained Photographers were not Allowed to Meet with the Detainees

Lawyers of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association are defending interests of Irakli and Natia Gvendadzes. On July 7 the lawyers met with and talked to the detainees but the following evening, on July 8, when the photographers where formally charged, the investigation did not allow GYLA’s lawyers to meet with the detainees whose interests they are protecting. According to the investigator, the Gvindadzes have refused to use the service of GYLA’s lawyers and have decided to hire another lawyer. The investigator also presented an application on preclusion.  GYLA’s lawyers were demanding to be allowed to meet with the detainees personally for them to confirm that the decision to change the lawyers was made willingly and without any pressure but the lawyers’ demand was refused by the investigator. It should be noted that during the most recent meeting with Irakli Gedenidze, the lawyer did not suspect anything about a possible preclusion. To the contrary, at the meeting it was agreed that the lawyer would frequently visit the detainee and that they would meet at the time he was formally charged.

2011-07-09 10:41 See more