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Legal Opinion of NGOs on Proposed Legislative Changes Related to Election Environment

On December 26, several NGOs focusing on issues pertinent to elections, expressed their legal opinion about the proposed legislative changes in the Election Code, the Criminal Code and the Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens. Corresponding press-conference was held at Tbilisi Marriot, where Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency International – Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Coalition for Free Choice and the Open Society – Georgia Foundation released a petition. Any individual or an organization who shares position of the NGOs could sign the petition. In the petition the NGOs openly expressed their opinion, stating that “unreasonable prohibitions” contained by the legislative initiative limit freedom of expression of private and non-governmental organizations and ordinary citizens. Representatives of the NGOs explained to media and public meaning of the stipulations contained by proposed changes, as they can be difficult for ordinary citizens to understand due to the professional terminology used.

2011-12-28 09:02 See more

GYLA’s Media Legal Defense Center about the December 21, 2011 Incident between Badri Nanetashvili and Natia Kuprashvili

The Media Legal Defense Center calls on the Interior Ministry to make public the video surveillance footage of the incident that occurred between the founder of Trialeti TV, Badri Nanetashvili and the director of the Regional Broadcasters’ Association, Natia Kupreishvili. Media Legal Defense Center believes that the fact which occurred on December 21, 2011 should be duly and objectively investigated by the investigation authorities, as contradictory statements released by media outlets do not provide public with a clear and accurate picture of what happened. Therefore, it role and maximum transparency of investigative authorities is rather important for providing every citizen with thorough information about the conflict.

2011-12-26 12:10 See more

GYLA Held Presentation of the Report on Human Rights Violations Observed During the Dispersal of the May 26 Assembly

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association concluded the series of human rights events by holding a presentation of the report on dispersal of the May 26 assembly.  The report – “Analysis of Facts of Human Rights Violations During and Related to the Dispersal of the May 26 Assembly” contains facts of human rights violations against participants detained during and following the dispersal of the May 26 assembly, as well as analysis of the practice of mass detentions of persons linked to assemblies held prior to May 26. Issues analyzed by the Report include -    Excessive use of force by the police during the assembly dispersal;-    Facts of deprivation of lives related to the developments of the assembly dispersal; -    Interference with journalistic reporting during the assembly dispersal;-    Ill-treatment of detained assembly participants.

2011-12-23 11:17 See more

GYLA Welcomes the Decision of the Constitutional Court to Recognize the Right to Good Faith Resistance in Reserve Military Service

GYLA welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court delivered on December 21, 2011, in Public Defender v Georgia which was decided in favor of the applicant’s constitutional claim. In the noted case, GYLA submitted its written legal opinion as amicus curiae. GYLA expresses satisfaction over the decision of the Constitutional Court to apply the right good faith resistance based on religious or non-religious (pacifist) believe, derived from Article 19 of the Constitution of Georgia, to Reserve Military Service as well. In its written legal opinion GYLA noted that in compulsory military service, recruits enjoyed the right to good faith resistance and the right to request alternative military service based on the good faith resistance; however, the same exception did not apply to persons who were subject to serving in Reserve Military Service. In its written opinion GYLA noted that similar to the compulsory military service, in Military Reserve Service, there are legitimate grounds for good faith resistance. Based on the constitutional practice of foreign countries, GYLA also noted that the obligation of an able citizen of Georgia to protect the country can be carried out by means of non-military, public labor of civil nature which is necessary for respecting the religious or non-religious belief of an individual.  

2011-12-22 17:42 See more

Parliament of Georgia Plans to Tighten Sanctions for Political Parties

On December 20, 2011, draft of changes to the Criminal Code of Georgia, Code of Administrative Offences, Criminal Procedure Code and the Law of Georgia on Chamber of Control was introduced in Parliament. The changes mostly aim at tightening sanctions imposed on political parties. It is noteworthy that the draft law is considered by the parliament in complete violation of its Regulations. More specifically, the parliamentary bureau made the decision to start consideration of the draft law on the very same day it was initiated. According to the Regulations, a draft law should be referred to the bureau 72 hours after it has been initiated. The draft law contains the following changes: •    Formulation of Article 1641 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (vote buying) will be revised. If the crime has been committed by a legal person, the law envisages its liquidation. We believe that this type of sanction is disproportionate and unreasonably strict, which ultimately threatens the work of political parties.

2011-12-22 16:39 See more

Statement of GYLA, Transparent International – Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy about the Draft Law on Funding Parties

On December 12, 2012, draft of changes to the organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens was initiated in the parliament of Georgia. Some of the changes proposed by the draft law are positive and reflect reccomendations of international and local non-governmental organizations. However, there are certain gaps and uncertainties that should be further elaborated and revised, including particularly issues related to political parties and legal persons connected to them. According to the proposals, financial limitations and obligations of accountability envisaged for political parties also apply to legal persons connected to them, including non-commercial entities. Such restrictions also apply to legal persons who, by means of a representative or through any other person, call on voters to support or refrain from supporting any political force. For example, under the draft law, a representative of an NGO who voices a proclamation in support an election subject can be deprived of the right to receive a contribution from any legal person.  

2011-12-22 15:07 See more

Georgian Young Lawyers Association Held a Public Presentation of the Labor Rights Research

On December 19, 2011, within the series of human rights events, Georgian Young Lawyers‘ Association held a public presentation of the labor rights research. Since late 2010, GYLA has been implementing the EU-funded project Young Lawyers for Effective Protection and Promotion of Basic Labor Rights in Georgia. Under the project auspices, GYLA provided free legal assistance to victims of labor rights violations. As one of the key objectives of the project is to improve national legislation and harmonize it with European standards, the analysis of the Georgia labor law covers the following: •    Analysis of key problems in national legislation; •    Reccomendations in consideration of international standards.

2011-12-19 12:21 See more

GYLA files against Abolishment of Monthly Subsistence Allowance in Constitutional Court

On behalf of former employee of Kutaisi machine installation bureau Beniamin Abramidze, GYLA filed in Constitutional Court of Georgia, seeking certain provisions of the Resolution of the Government of Georgia N53 on the Procedure for Compensating Health Injuries Sustained by Workers in the Course of their Job to be deemed unconstitutional. GYLA believes that the Resolution of the Government of Georgia N53 contradicts para. 1 and 2 of Article 21, Article 39 and para. 9 of Article 42 of the Constitution of Georgia. Instead of reasonably decreasing the amount of pecuniary assistance, necessary for saving budget funds, the disputed normative act completely abolished the monthly subsistence allowance. Furthermore, this state was not authorized to fully reject the right of an individual to receive a monthly subsistence allowance, as the request was based on a legal expectation derived from court’s decision or an administrative act. Legal expectation of social welfare from the state derives from the principle of legal security, which is an essential characteristic of a rule of law based state envisaged in the Preamble of the Constitution.

2011-12-16 10:19 See more

NGOs Respond to the Statement of the Georgian National Communications Commission Concerning Conflict of Interests

The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) with its December 2011, 14 statement strongly disagrees with the assessment of NGOs regarding the conflict of interests of the GNCC chairperson. Furthermore, the statement also notes that the company Magi Style Media “produces and places advertising”, while “placement of advertising is not regulated by the Georgian National Communications Commission”.We believe that the noted statement of the commission fails to clearly explain the field of work of Magi Style Media and the Commission’s powers with regard to placement of advertising in television broadcasting. More specifically, the statement does not specify where the company is placing advertising and whether the Commission is able to influence unlawful placement of advertising in any way.Therefore, the civil monitoring group of GNCC addresses the Commission with the request to elaborate to public on the following:

2011-12-16 08:30 See more

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Traditionally Presented the December 10 Reports to Public

Within the series of human rights event, GYLA traditionally presented the December 10 reports to public. Freedom of information is a fundamental right, and one of the legal grounds for government control and informed participation in the process of decision making. Obligation of public entities to submit to parliament and the president of Georgia detailed reports about practice of the noted right at the entity concerned, is one of the important guarantees for its protection. The fact that public entities are accountable to both executive and legislative branches of the government highlights particular importance of realization of freedom of information. GYLA regularly observes and examines practice of stipulations of Article 49 of the law. Report of the outcomes of the December 10 Reports was published in 2010, covering the reports submitted from 2000 to 2009.

2011-12-15 10:37 See more