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This Affects You Too Campaign about Granting Political Rights to Citizens of EU Member-States

On April 5, 2011, the Christian-Democratic Movement initiated a constitutional amendment granting citizens of EU member-states with the rights to pursue political activities and participate in elections. More specifically, current draft of the initiative of the parliamentary majority allows for election of a citizen of any EU member-state as Georgia’s member of the parliament, if s/he was born and has been living in Georgia for the past 10 years. The initiative was also endorsed by the parliamentary majority. The initiative also envisages a possibility of granting these individuals with political rights, including the right to hold a political office, which is currently exclusively enjoyed by citizens of Georgia.

2012-04-10 11:48 See more

Statement of Non-Governmental Organizations

Recently representatives of various political parties made statements by means of media (Channel 25, Kronika newspaper, etc.), demonstrating xenophobic, religious and ethnic intolerance. We assume that these statements were probably meant to turn playing with ethnic and religious sentiments into a key instrument for gaining votes. All politicians should realize that it is impossible to succeed in Georgia by playing with xenophobic, religious sentiments. No one should be allowed to stir up opposition on ethnic or religious grounds in Georgia and to jeopardize Georgia’s statehood. We apply to the ruling as well as the oppositional parties in Georgia and political or public leaders, to let them know that no purpose, including one’s strive to remain in power or come to power, can justify manipulation with noted issues for the purpose of gaining votes in the elections. Ethnic or political affiliation of an opponent may not serve as an argument for reinforcing one’s position in political debates.

2012-04-06 08:44 See more

GYLA makes legal assessment over the decision of Civil Registry Agency

On April 4, 2012 the Civil Registry Agency announced that Bidzina ivanishvili is not eligible to receive Georgian citizenship through naturalization. In view of high public interest to the issue, GYLA considers necessary to submit its legal assessment over the decision.  Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association thinks that the decision is not in line with Georgian legislation. The legislation of Georgia provides two separate procedures for individuals seeking to obtain Georgian citizenship: 1) naturalization and 2) dual citizenship. The major difference among them is that after receiving Georgian citizenship through naturalization a person shall not be citizen of any other country. If in the process to receive Georgian citizenship through naturalization an applicant is a foreign citizen there should be his/her officially declared will that after accepting Georgian citizenship he/she will renounce other country’s citizenship. As for dual citizenship, an applicant can maintain other country(s)’s citizenship even after gaining Georgian citizenship. As we know, in the case concerned, before applying for citizenship through naturalization, Ivanishvili submitted to the French embassy official request for launching procedures for his withdrawal from the French citizenship. The Civil Registry Agency was aware about Ivanishvili’s will that he would renounce his French citizenship in case of gaining Georgian citizenship. Therefore, the aim of the law, that a person can be only the citizen of Georgia after gaining citizenship through naturalization, should have been attained.

2012-04-06 08:42 See more

GYLA Held Presentation of the Project "Monitoring Pre-Election Processes for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections"

On April 4, at 11:00 am, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association held a presentation of closure of the project "Monitoring Pre-Election Processes for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections" and its final report. GYLA conducted the pre-election monitoring under the auspices of the project "Monitoring Pre-Election Processes for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections of Georgia", supported by the British Embassy. The research focused on the following key aspects: • New legislative regulations adopted in late 2011, which create unequal election environment and fail to ensure realization of free and fair elections in the country; • Implementation of large-scale and one-time budgetary programs that blur the line between the state and the ruling party, creating unequal playing field for political parties. • Persecuting, intimidation, dismissal from work with alleged political motive. • Latest activities of the Chamber of Control and later the Interior Ministry.

2012-04-04 12:50 See more

GYLA Filed in Tbilisi City Court against the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Interior Affairs

On December 27, 2011, the Government of Georgia adopted the resolution N489, determining toll, rate and payment terms for the emergency call center LEPL 112 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. According to the resolution, the payers of the toll are the users of telephone service. Monthly toll for the service of 112 is 20 tetris for natural persons and 50 tetris for legal entities. The resolution came into force on January 1, 2012. It is noteworthy that 112 has not yet started its operations and therefore, its service is not yet available for users. Nevertheless, starting from January 1, 2011, telephone service users are still charged with the tariff. GYLA applied to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, requesting information about the amount of money charged for emergency call center. According to the official letter, the income received from tolls collected in January-February 2012 amounted to GEL 1 408 868 (one million, four hundred eight thousand, eight hundred sixty-eight).

2012-04-03 10:45 See more

GYLA Condemns Imprisonment of Kakha Mikaia, a member of Protect Georgia, and Deems it as a Gross Interference with the Freedom of Assembly

On March 27, 2012, Zugdidi-based internet-publication released a video material showing detention of Kakha Mikaia, a member of Protect Georgia. The video-footage shows that a protest assembly was held outside Zugdidi District Court, where protesters were addressed by members of Free Democrats, Irakli Chiovani and Tea Tsulukiani. Assembly participants were protesting against the decision of Zugdidi District Court sentencing Sergo Chachibaia, a member of Free Democrats, to a two-month pre-trial imprisonment. Kakha Mikaia, a member of Protect Georgia, was holding a voice amplifier in his hands, used by Tea Tsulukiani to address the participants. Suddenly law enforcer approached him and notified him that he was under arrest. Zugdidi District Court found Kakha Mikaia guilty of committing offences envisaged by Articles 166 (petty hooliganism) and 173 (malicious disobedience to law enforcement officers) of the Code of Administrative Offences of Georgia and pronounced him as an administrative offender, sentencing him to a 10-day administrative imprisonment. Petty hooliganism entails use of abusive language in public places, derogatory treatment of citizens and other similar actions disturbing public order and peace of citizens. The footage released by clearly shows that Kakha Mikaia not only did not use any abusive language but he did not make any protest statements or address to the participants. The only action taken by Kakha Mikaia was holding the voice amplifier at the protest gathering. Malicious disobedience to law enforcement officers amounts to disobedience of police order to terminate an illegal action.  The footage released by does not show what illegal action was the police ordering Kakha Mikaia to terminate and what was the order that the latter disobeyed to. The footage only shows a sudden appearance of law enforcement officers and detention of Kakha Mikaia without making any prior warning.  

2012-04-02 11:15 See more

GYLA Responds to the Dismissal of a Teacher, Tamar Aspanidze

On March 29, 2012, at 11:00 am, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association held a press conference on dismissal of Tamar Aspanidze, a teacher at a public school of Bolnisi N3 on alleged political motive. Tamar Aspanidze applied to GYLA, stating that her dismissal had been motivated by political activities of her son Davit Aspanidze. Davit Aspanidze is a chairperson of the Bolnisi Office of the Republican Party. According to Tamar Aspanidze, several days before her dismissal, principal of the public school demanded she write an application on resignation, allegedly motivated by political views held by Tamar Aspanidze and her son. According to Tamar Aspanidze, the principal told her that if he refused to resign voluntarily, he would have to find grounds for her dismissal and terminate labor relations prematurely or resign himself. The principal stated that he did not have any issues with Aspanadze, as a teacher but he was forced to follow the instructions received from the educational resource-center of Bolnisi. In a conversation with Tamar Aspanadze, the head of the resource center did not deny that he sought Tamar Aspanidze’s dismissal since she “had been spotted” outside the office of the Georgian Dream a number of times.

2012-03-29 12:20 See more

GYLA Submitted its Opinion about the Draft Law on Pension Reforms to Parliament

The Parliament of Georgia is examining the draft of amendments to the law of Georgia on State Pension and to the Law on Social Welfare. GYLA has already submitted its opinion about the legal initiatives to the Parliament of Georgia and the new Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association gives a sharply negative assessment to the initiative of delegating the Government of Georgia with a significant part of Parliament’s competences as envisaged by the draft law. Specifically, the according to the legal draft the law will no longer regulate volume of a social package but rather, it will be determined by an order of the Government of Georgia. Individuals who have lost their breadwinners and persons with disabilities will be the beneficiaries of the social package. It is noteworthy that the Parliament of Georgia – the supreme legislative body of the country composed of representatives elected by the people – has higher legitimacy to decide on matters of this importance. Under the Constitution, the Parliament of Georgia is the body of the government determining key directions of internal and foreign policies of the country. Therefore, decisions on key strands of social policy should be made by the Parliament. It is also noteworthy that the procedure of decision-making is much more transparent in Parliament with a better opportunity for interested parties and the civil society to participate in the process and influence decisions made, whereas the decision-making lacks transparency in the Government of Georgia.

2012-03-29 12:17 See more

GYLA Applies to Parliament for Improving Labor Legislation

  On March 16, 2011, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) applied to Parliament of Georgia with a legislative proposal. The purpose of the proposal is to amend norms of the Labor Code that regulate suspension and termination of labor agreement. Corresponding practice reveals that the existing norms fail to ensure protection of rights and interests of employees in an event of termination of a labor agreement. Furthermore, it does not comply with standards established by international acts or reflect the experience of other countries in the sphere of protection of labor rights. Furthermore, the court practice has clearly failed to fill the legislative void or to provide the definition of the mechanism for termination of labor agreement that complies with international standards. It shows the necessity to revise the existing regulations. The legal draft ensures harmonization of the existing norms of labor law with international acts, subsequent international obligations undertaken by Georgia and the legislation of European countries; more specifically, it aims at regulating termination of labor relations in a way that will ensure protection of employees’ rights by means of entitling them to material or procedural guarantees. The legal draft offers new regulation of termination of labor agreement. More specifically, it establishes grounds and procedures for the termination of agreement. The proposed formulation

2012-03-21 08:09 See more

Statement of the Campaign It Affects You Too Regarding Consultations with the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament of Georgia

Participants of the campaign It affects You Too welcome the agreement between non-governmental organizations and the legal affairs committee of Parliament of Georgia regarding certain issues, and the commitment of Parliament of Georgia to take into consideration the proposals prepared by civil actors for improving the election environment. According to the agreement that has been reached, • The notion of persons  directly or indirectly related to a political party will be removed from the law; • The Chamber of Control will no longer have the authority to impose restrictions on persons for expressing their political sympathy or antipathy; • Circle of persons that fall under the regulations introduced by the law for political parties will be narrowed and explicitly defined. • Voters will no longer be subject to criminal liability for requesting any inducements from political parties; • A person’s entrepreneurial activities that are not directly linked with electoral goals will no longer be restricted;

2012-03-20 09:05 See more