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Response to the Statement of the State Audit Agency

Georgian Young Lawyers' Association Transparency International - Georgia On July 4, 2012, the State Audit Agency published a statement responding the letter What was Bidzina Ivanishvili Fined For? published by NGOs Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) and Transparency International - Georgia on June 28. In its statement the State Audit Agency addresses not only the arguments related to appearance of the State Audit Agency before court and evidence submitted by it but also tries to justify certain actions of court, its decisions, which is beyond the agency's purview. The State Audit Agency refers to the NGOs' evaluation of Bidzina Ivanishvili's fining as "a very bold and loud assessment"; however it also fails to offer substantiated arguments for invalidating objective and impartial arguments presented by us.  

2012-07-11 11:11 See more

GYLA welcomes the decision of the Board of Trustees of the legal entity of public law Georgian Public Broadcaster

On July 9, 2012, the Public Broadcaster’s board of trustees granted the appellate claim of Iuri Vazagashvili and Tsiala Shanava. On May 2, 2012, a report prepared about an assembly of Zurab Vazagashvili’s relatives and representatives of the society, marking anniversary of Zura Vazagashvili’s death by Tennis Courts was aired during the 4pm newscast Moambe. The report provided a detailed overview of the incident that occurred on May 2, 20116, involving death of Zura Vazagashvili. The report noted that ‘Vazagashvili was a member of an armed gang’. With the assistance of GYLA, Zura Vazagashvili’s parents filed a complaint with the self-regulatory agency of the Public Broadcaster, seeking rebuttal of the information.

2012-07-10 11:07 See more

GYLA’s Georgian Media Legal Defense Center Responds to Recent Unlawful Actions against Journalists of Info 9

Recently there have been frequent facts of violence against representatives of Info 9. Public servants abuse journalists verbally and physically, which is confirmed by video material recorded by cameramen. Further, journalists have been followed all week long by unknown individuals with camera. They identify themselves as members of Media Group, asking questions about professional and personal life. Under these circumstances, journalists are deprived from an opportunity to carry out their activities. With their intense actions, these unknown individuals surpass the frames of freedom of expression and interfere with professional and private lives of others. GMLDC believes that actions perpetrated against representatives of Info 9 bear the marks of criminal offence. We call on the law enforcement authorities to launch a probe into these facts and take adequate further actions in order for journalists to be able to continue their work under normal working conditions.  

2012-07-10 07:45 See more

Opinion of GYLA on the Statement of the Secretary of Anti-Corruption Council Concerning Impounding of Property on the Account of Global Contact Consulting LLC

On June 24, 2012, GYLA released a statement on impounding of property on the account of Global Contact Consulting LLC under the June 21, 2012 decision of Tbilisi City Court. In its statement GYLA evaluated lawfulness of the decision and other circumstances on grounds of Article 151 of the Criminal Procedures Code of Georgia, noting that the decision to impound the property was made in violation of procedures law. In response to the statement, we received a legal analysis from the secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council, focusing on Article 151 of the Criminal Procedures Code of Georgia. Therefore, we believe it is necessary to focus our judgment solely on Article 151 of the Criminal Procedures Code in our further opinion. Hereby, we present our initial assessment again, in light of Article 151. However, first we should note that crimes of corruption are not systematized in the Criminal Procedures Code. Moreover, the Code does not offer any definition of corruption as a crime. Thus the law leaves an unjustifiably broad discretion for evaluating whether criminal actions concerned constitute corruption. As for the crime of vote-buying, despite its criminal characteristics, it must also be taken into account that it is included in the chapter dealing with crimes against basic human rights and freedoms, which clearly excludes the possibility of arguing that it amounts to criminal actions of corruption. Neither does the UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by Georgia, qualifies vote-buying as corruption. The Justice Ministry’s official website offers a standard scheme of qualification of crimes. According to the scheme, crimes fall under three levels of classification. The first level differentiates between violent and non-violent crimes; the second differentiates between particularly grave, grave and less grave crimes. The third level differentiates between crimes according to objects/different chapters of the Criminal Code, including common crimes as a separate category, whose statistics are maintained by the MoJ.

2012-07-06 12:09 See more

GYLA Disapproves Subjecting of Government’s Decision-Making Procedures to Regulations Adopted by the Government

GYLA responds to the legal draft initiated in the parliament on amendments to the law of Georgia on Structure, Authority and Rules of Operation of the Government, which in GYLA’s opinion constitutes as a step towards weakening parliamentary control on the Government. The proposed draft removes paragraphs 22, 4 and 7 from Article 12 of the law. These norms regulate matters related to initiating an issue for examining during the session of the government, rules related to examining and deciding on issues by the government and number of votes necessary for making decisions. Under paragraph 7, Article 12 of the law, Government is authorized to examine issues if more than half of the members of the government are present at the session. Government makes decisions by majority of votes of members in attendance. Under the proposed new regulations, the procedure for making decisions by the government will be determined by regulations as opposed to a legal act. These regulations will be proposed by PM and adopted by the Government. Hence, the draft law strips parliament of the right to regulate procedures of government’s decision-making. Instead, these procedures will be determined independently by the government and PM.

2012-07-05 12:15 See more

GYLA to protect rights of persons displaced from non-occupied territories in the Constitutional Court

On June 3, 2012, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association filed a constitutional claim in the Constitutional Court, on behalf of Piruz Vaniev of the village of Khurvaleti, Gori Municipality and Tristan Mamgulashvili of Kareli Municipality. GYLA filed against legal definition of the notion IDP. Prior to December 27, 2011, an IDP was someone who was forced to leave his place of permanent residency as a result of aggression of a foreign state, internal conflict of mass violation of human rights, despite of where s/he lived. Under the legal amendments adopted on December 27, 2011, the Law of Georgia on IDPs applies only to persons displaced from the occupied territories. Under the law of Georgia on the Occupied Territories, these are the following occupied territories of Georgia – the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the autonomous district of former South Ossetia. Territories that were never included in Abkhazia or the autonomous district of former South Ossetia but are not subject to effective control of the Georgian authorities are not regarded as occupied territories. The house of Tristan Mamgulashvili in the village of Dvani and the house of Piruz Vaniev in the village Khorvaleti do not belong to the occupied territories. Nevertheless, following the military aggression of Russia in August 2008 applicants were forced to leave the place of their permanent residence and are still unable to return home due to the fact that Georgian law-enforcement authorities can’t exercise control on the territory.

2012-07-05 11:10 See more

Civil Solidarity Campaign Held Assembly outside Ksani Prison

Several days ago it became public that convicts of the penitentiary establishment N15 applied to the Public Defender of Georgia with a collective petition reporting fact of ill-treatment. Civil Solidarity Campaign held a consequent assembly outside Ksani Prison on June 2, 2012. The petition, signed by up to 700 convicts, reported verbal and physical abuse that prisoners were subjected to on various occasions. The Civil Solidarity Campaign expresses it solidarity to prisoners and joins the demands of GYLA: 1. The head of the penitentiary department to immediately act on the unlawful actions that occurred at the penitentiary establishment N15 2. The office of the chief prosecutor of Georgia to undertake all necessary investigative actions in a timely manner and ensure effectual investigation of alleged facts;

2012-07-03 09:08 See more

Successful Cases

Civil case T.A. v I. M., I. G. and I. G. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association provided legal assistance to T. A. who owned a house since 1996. Based on a verbal agreement with previous owners – I.M., I.G and I.G., he had paid USD 4 000 but was not registered at the disputed residential property. We prepared a lawsuit on behalf of T.A. seeking his recognition as the beneficiary of the impugned property and acknowledgment as the owner of the property in exchange for paying 25% of the property value (USD 32 000). The first instance court did not grant the claim and explained that T.A. was not the beneficiary since he had not signed a written agreement and nor was he registered at the disputed residential property. The decision was appealed in the Appellate Court which fully granted GYLA’s claim. The Appellate Court recognized T.A. as the beneficiary. The respondent appealed the decision in the Supreme Court where the parties settled. According to the settlement, I.M., I.G. and I.G. committed themselves to paying USD 27 000 to T.A. within the period of 6 months after adoption of the settlement act; in an event of their failure to do so, the decision of the Appellate Court will come into force.

2012-07-02 09:03 See more

GYLA and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy to Monitor an Assembly to be held in Mtskheta

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) will monitor the manifestation to be held by the coalition Georgian Dream on July 01, 2012 in Mtskheta. The monitoring will be carried out within the frames of a long-term pre-election monitoring, which entails monitoring of public meetings organized by political parties as well as realization of freedom of assembly and manifestation. Monitors will observe all developments in Mtskheta and throughout the regions related to organization of the July 01, 2012 assembly and mobilization and relocation of participants. GYLA and ISFED remain hopeful that the assembly will be held in a peaceful environment and the authorities will observe legal guarantees for assembly and manifestation.  

2012-06-29 16:07 See more

GYLA’s press-conference on unlawful actions committed against convicts of the penitentiary establishment N15

  Several days ago it became public that convicts of the penitentiary establishment N15 applied to the Public Defender of Georgia with a collective petition about their verbal and physical abuse on various occasions, signed by up to 700 convicts. After the information was made public, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association met with nine convicts who were transferred from Ksani N15 establishment to the penitentiary establishment N1 on June 24. In an interview with lawyers of GYLA, convicts confirmed facts cited in the collective petition and seven of them consented to launching a probe. Consequently, their statements will be referred to the office of the prosecutor. Furthermore, the following three convicts – Besik Guledani, Zurab Naskidashvili and Paata Modebadze, have consented to making their names public. As for the remaining convicts, they prefer to keep their identity private. According to the petition, convicts were subject to various unlawful actions both during their admission to penitentiary establishment and afterwards. Statements of prisoners suggest that following types of illegal actions were committed by personnel of the penitentiary establishment:  holding convicts in a dump and dirty bathhouse for several days;  verbal abuse by making offensive remarks and swearing at them, as well as physical abuse/beating with their feet, fists and truncheons;  unlawful seizure of personal belongings of convicts;  

2012-06-29 13:47 See more