IDFI calls on the Government of Georgia to not institute any restrictions related to Covid-19 that would purposefully impair the freedoms of assembly and expression.
On November 6, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the restrictions would not interfere with freedom of expression. Nevertheless, the very next day, it was declared that curfew will be enforced beginning November 9 in the 7 largest cities.
Despite that the Georgian Government insists that the imposed restriction is not curfew in nature, we would like to state otherwise: a curfew is nothing more than an intense restriction on freedom of movement. The blanket and universal ban on movement without a permit in the 7 largest cities of the country, comprising 50% of the country’s population, is not a targeted measure. It is in fact a curfew – a large-scale measure to limit rights as per the law of Georgia “On State of Emergency”, to be used during states of emergency or war.
If the Government of Georgia intends to take into account the decision of the Interagency Coordination Council regarding the imposition of a curfew, the Government must clearly declare that the curfew will not extend to the persons who relocate to exercise her/his freedoms of expression and assembly (or those who are already on the location of the assembly).
It should be noted that, in general, the Government unilaterally imposing a curfew without the involvement of the legislative branch is in fact a violation of the Constitution of Georgia. Additionally, extending the restrictions on the freedom of movement to the ongoing/planned demonstrations will further aggravate the already tense political situation.
 Last checked: November 9, 2020. 09:30 AM.
 According to the Organic Law of Georgia “On Normative Acts” the fastest way for the resolution of the government to enter into force is its enforcement “upon promulgation”. Article 22 Paragraph 2. The mentioned Organic law stipulates that “If a normative act enters into force upon promulgation, it means that the normative act shall enter into force at 24:00 on the day of its promulgation” Following the publication of this statement, the relevant resolution of the Government was published in the Legislative Herald of Georgia from 12:30 to 13:30. By the decree, curfew was set at 10 PM. Such a decision of the Government contradicts the Law of Georgia “On Normative Acts”. The assumption that the Government has the authority to regulate the rules for the adoption and publication of normative acts in any different way than stipulated in the law, undermines the constitutional principle of legal certainty.
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