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NGOs Held a Rally Outside the President’s Administration

NGOs are protesting signing of the unconstitutional changes concerning vote buying that were made in the organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens and the Criminal Code of Georgia on December 28, 2011.  Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency Internationa – Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Coalition for Free Choice and the Open Society – Georgia Foundation held a press-conference on December 28 where they expressed their opinion about the bills adopted by the parliament and called on the President of Georgia, Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili to prevent violation of the principles of utmost importance guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and the international law and to use the power of veto granted by the Constitution. Nevertheless, the President signed the draft of legislative changes. As we believe that the legislative changes contradict the Constitution of Georgia, NGOs held a protest rally outside the President’s Administration with a slogan We Protest!

2011-12-30 12:09 See more

Statement of GYLA on the Assembly of the ICC State Parties

10th Session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was held on December 12021, 2011, in New-York. The Assembly of State Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court. The Assembly elected Fatou Bensouda (Gambia) as the new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who assumed the office on June 16, 2012 for the period of 9 years.

2011-12-29 14:57 See more

NGOs Requesting the President to Use the Power of Veto

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency International – Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Coalition for Free Choice and the Open Society – Georgia Foundation held a press conference on changes in the organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens. On December 28, 2011, Parliament of Georgia passed unconstitutional changes in the organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens. According to the new regulations, political unions as well as legal entities that are directly or indirectly affiliated with a political party or are otherwise controlled by a political party or have declared political goals and objectives, will be obligated to return donations that they have received from legal persons within three days after the law comes into effect. Otherwise, the money will become the property of the state. 

2011-12-29 07:52 See more

GYLA’s Media Legal Defense Center on the Statement of Internet Publication

According to the information reported by internet publication and provided to Media Legal Defense Center, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia held a meeting with local population to discuss issues related to Reserve Military Service in Zugdidi Theatre; however, was prohibited from attending the meeting; neither was it provided with verbal information about the meeting. At the end of the meeting, journalists were trying to obtain information by interviewing participants who were exiting the building but a representative of the Defense Ministry, Mamuka Iosava took away their camera and deleted recorded material, stating illegal arguments. Yesterday internet publication released information on the Ministry of Defense apologizing about the noted fact.

2011-12-28 09:08 See more

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