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GYLA responds to violence based on political views in Shida Kartli and calls on the authorities to prevent such actions

GYLA responds to violence that erupted in the village of Mereti, Gori municipality, on June 26, 2012 and believes that failure of the police to act for prevention of violence based on political intolerance as well as politicization of public service is unacceptable. A group of people assembled in Mereti clearly expressed their frustration with Bidzina Ivanishvili and Irakli Alasania, leaders of the coalition Georgian Dream, who had arrived in the village for meeting with voters. Eventually, the disagreement grew into a fistfight and physical abuse, as a result of which several people sustained health injuries. Physical violence erupted along a borderline village, where Georgian law enforcers are patrol on a regular basis; nevertheless, the police failed to take measures for preventing violence. Article 25 of the Constitution of Georgia guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly. The state has a positive responsibility to protect freedom of assembly. In Plattform "Ärzte für das Leben" v. Austria the ECHR ruled that the participants must be able to hold the demonstration without having to fear that they will be subjected to physical violence by their opponents. The state violates the right to assembly not only by directly interfering with holding a demonstration but also by remaining passive during a physical clash between demonstrators and other persons and fails to take steps for preventing violence, making it impossible to hold an assembly in peaceful manner.

2012-06-28 09:40 See more

GYLA requests a probe in questioning persons who applied to Komagi Foundation for assistance as witnesses

  Lawyers of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association interviewed individuals that applied to Komagi Foundation for assistance and were questioned in Moduli Building as witnesses. Combination of statements given by the following citizens – Givi Kuridze, Manana Gurgenashvili, Lamzira Kochishvili, Nugzar Belkania – produces a reasonable doubt that the Interior Ministry officers violated law in the process of questioning the said individuals as witnesses. These individuals confirm that they applied to Komagi Foundation. They explain that on June 9, 2012, Interior Ministry officers visited them in their homes, and tricked and coerced them into going to Moduli Building. Most of these policemen wore civil uniforms and failed to state their identities to individuals summoned as witnesses. Although they were informed in Moduli Building of being questioned as witnesses, the authorities failed to specify the alleged crime under investigation. Three of them were informed that they had the right to a lawyer’s assistance. The Criminal Procedures Code of Georgia stipulates that an individual to be summoned as a witnessed must be provided with a notice stating “who and for what, to whom and at which address the individual has been summoned, time and date for appearance.” Forcing a witness to testify is allowed if s/he is avoiding appearance for invalid reason. It is further noteworthy that according to N. Belkania, policement visited him at his workplace with his child in their car.  

2012-06-28 09:38 See more

What was Bidzina Ivanishvili fined for?

  Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Transparency International – Georgia On June 11, 2012, judges of Tbilisi City Court Koba Gotsirize and Nana Daraselia fined Bidzina Ivanishvili with total of GEL 148,650,131. The Court found that Ivanishvili made an illegal contribution in favor of the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia. The Chamber of Control of Georgia contends that in the first case Ivanishvili transferred money to his brother – Alexandre Ivanishvili, used for installing satellite antennas for population. As estimated by the political parties’ financial monitoring service, total market value of the antennas amounted to GEL 12, 622, 019. In the second case, Elita Burju LLC and Burji LLC rented 239 vehicles to the party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia at a symbolic price, whereas the market value of the service amounted to GEL 2, 242, 000. The court found that Bidzina Ivanishvili was behind these two companies. The said decisions were delivered following two trials held on June 8 and June 11 respectively. We believe that court’s decision was not based on comprehensive, thorough and objective examination of the case. Judging by the court proceedings, the evidence and the materials presented by the Chamber of Control of Georgia, fining of Bidzina Ivanishvili was unlawful due to the following circumstances:  

2012-06-28 08:56 See more

GYLA and the Public Defender Marked International Day In Support for Victims of Torture

International Day in Support for Victims of Torture is celebrated on June 26. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and the Public Defender of Georgia annually mark the day with various activities. This year Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and the Public Defender of Georgia planned a joint event. Specifically, on May 26, GYLA chairperson and the Public Defender distributed posters and brochures in Dighomi N2 pre-trial detention isolator. These brochures and posters will contribute to raising awareness of detainees about their rights, which will play a role in prevention of ill-treatment and torture. Furthermore, posters and brochures will contribute to deepening knowledge and raising awareness of personnel of the penitentiary establishment, which is equally important for preventing torture and ill-treatment. Posters and brochures prepared under the auspices of a joint project of GYLA and the Public Defender of Georgia – Improving Prisoners’ Rights – Joint Advocacy, are intended for individuals detained under criminal as well as administrative charges. Further, in consideration of national minorities held in pre-trial detention isolators, posters and brochures were prepared not only in Georgian but also in Armenian, Azerbaijani, English and Russian languages. These posters and brochures will be distributed in other pre-trial detention isolators during monitoring of the National Preventive Mechanism in summer.    

2012-06-26 13:15 See more

Statement of GYLA on Impounding of Global Contact Consulting Ltd’s Property

On June 21, 2012, Tbilisi City Court’s Board of Administrative Cases granted the motion of the Office of the General Prosecutor of Georgia and impounded technical equipment for broadcasting intended for Global Consulting Ltd. (antennas, receiver, convertors). The court’s order was founded on the criminal case involving vote buying by certain individuals through handing out satellite dishes and receivers registered under Global Contact Consulting Ltd. According to the prosecution, despite the address of the Chamber of Control of Georgia to the Global Contact Consulting, certain individuals continued handing out of TV antennas to voters in exchange for support of a political subject. The court ruled that technical equipments for broadcasting are a property is aimed to be used for committing a crime, in particular for vote buying. Therefore, the technical equipments were impounded. We believe that while the state is responsible to take efficient measures to combat crime, the process must be conducted in unequivocal observance of principle of justice and law. The state is also responsible to treat cases that involve media-related prohibitions with special caution. We believe that the June 21, 2012 order of Tbilisi City Court’s Board of Administrative Cases on impounding the property was made in violation of procedures of the criminal law procedures due to the following circumstances:

2012-06-25 13:25 See more

It Affects You Too comments on the statement of Davit Bakradze

Participants of the civil campaign It Affects You Too welcome today’s statement of the Chairman of Parliament made on air on Imedia TV during the 2 o’clock news about obligatory carrying of all television channels by all the cable operators during the electoral period. According to Mr. Bakradze, parliament is currently working on a proposal that envisages “carrying of all television channels by all the cable operators during the electoral period”. The Chairman’s statement echoes the legislative initiative prepared under the auspices of It Affects You Too campaign on implementation of the so-called must carry and must offer regulations, which, according to the majority of NGO sector and media organizations, will ensure availability of pluralist information for public and enable them to make an informed choice.

2012-06-22 14:13 See more

Opinions of NGOs on pending amendments to the Election Code related to verification of voters’ list

The Parliament of Georgia is now considering proposed amendments to the Election Code of Georgia. Some of its provisions have been drafted by the Commission in charge of verifying voters' list (the Commission). The draft law proposes inclusion of the following voters in the unified voters’ list: 1. Voters whose registration has been annulled by the Civil Registry, Ministry of Justice of Georgia;2. Voters whose living at the place of their registration is not confirmed by information provided to the Commission by an individual registered at the same address. The draft law grants these individuals with the right to participate elections held through both majoritarian and proportionate system. It is noteworthy that if an individual is removed from registration, registration portion of his/her ID card is deemed void but it is still valid to prove identity. According to one of the representatives of the Commission, number of people that fall under either of the categories is approximately 80 000. Delegating the right to vote according to a place of registration that has been deemed void means that invalid information will have a legal force, which is unacceptable. Further, it produces the risk that voters removed from registration will register shortly before the elections according to their home address and will simultaneously be included on the list for two electoral precincts, which will reduce chances of the Commission to identify such cases in a timely manner and ensure accuracy of lists.

2012-06-22 10:11 See more

Statement concerning actions taken against the organization Georgian Football Supporter

On June 2, 2012, the Georgian Chamber of Control’s Party Monitoring Service, under the law infringement protocol, found the Georgian Football Supporter, a non-entrepreneurial non-commercial legal entity, was guilty of receiving up to USD 200,000 in illicit donations from different individuals and legal entities. The Monitoring Service, subsequently, fined the Georgian Football Supporter and froze its accounts under paragraph 1 and 4 of the article 261and paragraphs 1 and 3 of article 342of the Georgian Organic Law on Political Unions of Citizens as they are described below. We think that fining this organization and impounding its accounts was in violation of existing legislation since the above articles of the law prescribe the following requirements for fines:

2012-06-21 13:00 See more

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

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 June 17, 2012 in Ozurgeti. 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 Ozurgeti and throughout the regions related to organization of the June 17, 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.  

2012-06-15 10:24 See more

GYLA Presented Results of A 6 Month-Long Monitoring of Trials

  Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association in cooperation with the Transparency International – Georgia will present results of monitoring of criminal trials in Tbilisi City Court held under the auspices of a USAID-funded project Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project (JILEP) implemented by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI). The presentation held on June 14, 2012. The project aims at increasing transparency in Georgian courts by means of monitoring trials in courtrooms and publishing consequent reports. The monitoring implemented by GYLA covers the period from October 2011 to April 2012. The monitoring has revealed that • During most of the main hearings the principle of adversity was observed; however, there were several instances where judge sharply digressed from his neutral role (questioning of witnesses); • Judges’ decisions prescribing preventive measures during initial hearings were usually unsubstantiated; • Judicial decisions illustrated that judges were biased in favor of office of the prosecutor – absolute majority of the prosecution’s motions were granted identically;  

2012-06-14 12:57 See more