On June 24, the Prime Minister of Georgia announced an expected amnesty for those fines that were issued for violating Covid-related regulations. According to the Prime Minister, all fines will be written off and all ongoing prosecutions will be terminated.
Georgia is still fighting the pandemic, and in this process, setting and enforcing the restrictions in accordance with the Constitution is the main mean for the fight.By announcing an amnesty, the state itself undermines the legitimacy of the restrictions it has applied and/or will apply in the future.
Given the current pace of the vaccination, it is likely that the state will still face the need to impose restrictions.The amnesty will significantly encourage violations of Covid regulations in the future, which in turn will lead to the strengthening of repressive mechanisms from the state. Violations of basic human rights will occur inevitably.
The pandemic is not over yet, there are many problems in terms of vaccination. Moreover, two days ago the Parliament of Georgia supported the extension of the powers to the executive required to impose Covid regulations. Under these circumstances, the suggested amnesty raises the suspicion that this decision is only conditioned by forthcoming local self-government elections or other political goals.
IDFI has repeatedly stated that there are many problems with the introduction and enforcement of Covid regulations and that they violate basic human rights. E.g., tens of thousands of illegal fines have been imposed for violating the rules of wearing masks outdoors. However, amnesty is an act directed to the past and it cannot prevent systemic problems. Moreover, it is highly probable that in the future it will further aggravate the existing problems.If the state wants to prevent fundamental human rights violations during a pandemic, it must develop effective preventive and follow-up mechanisms.
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