In the recent Rustavi 2 case, the quality of the court’s handling of the case, the procedural problems and questions raised at each stage of the case, and the suspension of enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights all confirmed the existence of systemic problems in the justice sector which have been actively pointed out by local and international organizations.
The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary submitted a written communication to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The document aims to inform the Committee of Ministers about the state of execution of the so called Garibashvili Groupcases.
29 non-governmental organizations have addressed the European Court of Human Rights on the Rustavi 2 case.
We are deeply concerned by the decision, made on March 2 by the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court of Georgia, stating that the owner of Rustavi 2 shares will become Kibar Khalvashi (60%) and Ltd Panorama (40%).
On March 1, the Georgian Parliament approved a package of legislative amendments with the third and final hearing that involves creating a new agency under the State Security Service that will carry out secret surveillance activities.
Media outlets have recently disseminated information about participation of a judge reviewing the case of Rustavi 2 in corrupt deals and about alleged pressure on two judges of the Supreme Court who are also involved in examining the case.
On February 6, the parliamentary majority initiated a legislative package that regulates the conduct of covert investigative actions in a new way. The legislative package provides for the creation of a legal entity of public law, Operative-Technical Agency of Georgia, which will be responsible for covert surveillance and eavesdropping. Together with technical implementation of eavesdropping, the agency will have a number of other functions, which makes it an interested entity in obtaining as much information as possible.
Today European Union once again recognized the historical aspiration of Georgian people to be part of Europe and reached an agreement on visa liberalization for Georgia. Soon, citizens of Georgia will be able to travel through Europe without visas. The Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia extends special gratitude to the European family and supports this decision.
Reportedly, the Constitutional Court declared the acting legislation unconstitutional, which regulates secret surveillance and listening. In its decision, the Court stated that creation, possession, administration and use of technical tools for the obtaining of the personal data in real time and ability to have direct access to the personal data with the support of these tools, also copying and retaining metadata by the very same agency, which itself is carrying out investigation increases threat of unreasonable interference in personal life.
The Coalition welcomes the proposal to regulate a probable number of judgesin the law. The Venice Commission underlined the need to balance the power of government branches with respect to the establishment of the number of judges, judicial appointments, and allocation of resources needed for an increase in the number of judges. The powers have to be balanced in a way that will limit the Parliament’s or President’s undue influence on the increase of the number of judges. The President’s objections confirm the need to establish a balance of power in line with the Venice Commission’s opinion. In addition, the President proposes to the Parliament to regulate the issue of the number of judges after having considered better guarantees of judicial independence.