The sitting of the Legal Issues Committee
The Legal Issues Committee supported the draft resolutions with majority of votes. According to the first draft resolution, continuation of consideration of 32 drafts initiated in the preceding Parliament has been recognized expedient as decided by nine Committees.
According to the second draft resolution, continuation of consideration of 9 drafts initiated in the preceding Parliament has been recognized inexpedient. The draft resolutions shall be submitted to the Bureau to be considered at the plenary session.
The UN Human Rights Council adopted the Resolution on Cooperation with Georgia
On 24 March 2020, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Resolution on Cooperation with Georgia.
The Resolution was presented by the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia, who spoke about the severe human rights situation in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.
Notwithstanding the repeated calls by the Human Rights Council and efforts of the High Commissioner, the Russian Federation -continues to prevent the international human rights monitoring mechanisms from entering both Russian-occupied regions of Georgia.
The Deputy Minister referred to the High Commissioner’s reports vividly depicting the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation on the ground, as well as the suffering of the conflict-affected people in both Georgian regions, the flagrant violations of the fundamental rights and the various forms of discrimination based on ethnic grounds, particularly affecting ethnic Georgians in both Georgian regions. The Deputy Minister underscored the negative impact of the closures of crossing points – in some cases imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that dozens died since the closure of the occupation line in September 2019 due to the refusing and delaying emergency evacuation.
According to the Deputy Minister, the report emphasizes that no one has been held accountable for the cases of arbitrary deprivation of life of ethnic Georgians that occurred between 2014 and 2019 and the lack of accountability therefore continued to contribute to climate of impunity, which could lead to further tensions and violence in both Georgian regions.
Speaking before the Council, Lasha Darsalia emphasized that the recent decision of the power exercising effective control in Tskhinvali region to prolong the illegal detention of Zaza Gakheladze for more than 12 years is yet another alarming example of manipulation with people’s fates.
Alarmingly, the Russian Federation continues to use the humanitarian and human rights issues for its far-reaching goal to put political pressure on the government of Georgia and further destabilize the situation on the ground.
The above-mentioned once again clearly demonstrates the urgent need of access for the OHCHR and other international human rights monitoring mechanisms to both Georgian regions.
The delegations of the EU, UK, Poland and the Czech Republic made statements in support for Georgia calling on the Council members to vote for the Resolution initiated by Georgia.
In the Resolution adopted on 24 March, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The UN Human Rights Council recognizes with appreciation the efforts of the Government of Georgia to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights.
The UN Human Rights Council welcomes the cooperation of the Government of Georgia with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.
The Resolution expresses serious concern over the human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied regions of Georgia with special emphasis on reported kidnappings, arbitrary detention, interference with property rights, restrictions on access to education in one’s native language, free movement and residence, as well as continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin in both regions.
The Resolution expresses serious concern at the continuous process of installation and advancement of barbed wire fences and different artificial barriers along the occupation line in Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia and adjacent areas, including during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Resolution expresses serious concern that despite the Secretary-General’s appeal for an immediate global ceasefire, the situation of human rights has further deteriorated in both Georgian regions, particularly owing to growing violations and restrictions on humanitarian access,
The Resolution expresses serious concern also at the negative consequences of the prolonged closure of the so-called crossing points and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement, particularly the denial of medical evacuations by the authorities exercising effective control in both regions, which has contributed to a number of deaths and the further isolation of the regions, thereby aggravating the humanitarian and socioeconomic situation on the ground which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Resolution expresses serious concern further at the lack of accountability for unlawful killings of ethnic Georgians committed in the period from 2014 to 2019, which continues to contribute to impunity in both Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia.
The Resolution recognizes the importance of the Geneva International Discussions established on the basis of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 as an instrument for addressing security, stability, human rights and humanitarian issues on the ground.
It needs to be highlighted that the Resolution takes note of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, which holds Russia accountable for the violation of international law norms and fundamental human rights during the August 2008 war, as well as for the occupation of and effective control over the Georgian territories.
The Resolution expresses concern that internally displaced persons and refugees continue to be deprived of the right to return to their homes in a safe and dignified manner.
The document expresses serious concern at the repeated denial of access to international and regional monitors, including the United Nations human rights mechanisms, to both Georgian regions and calls on the authorities exercising effective control in those regions to grant them unimpeded access.
The Resolution requests the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council an oral update and a written report on the follow-up to the present resolution.
MFA of Georgia
PACE urges Georgian ruling majority to ensure introduction of election system that can have support and trust of all stakeholders
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe addresses the Georgian Dream regarding the electoral system.
In a resolution adopted by the Assembly, the organization calls on the ruling party to provide the kind of electoral system before the 2020 elections that that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders.
“The Assembly urges the Georgian ruling majority to ensure the introduction of an election system that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders in time before the 2020 elections; to fully implement all the recommendations of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) formulated in the opinion on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges; to promptly implement the fourth wave of reform of the judiciary and for all political forces in the country to work to overcome the continuing polarisation in the political environment”, reads the resolution.
The resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe summarizes the results of monitoring in 10 countries: Georgia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine.
The UN General Assembly within its 73rd session adopted the Resolution on „Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali, Georgia”
On 4th of June the UN General Assembly within its 73rd session adopted the Resolution on „Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia” that was initiated by Georgia and 44 sponsoring states.
The General Assembly has been adopting the Resolution consecutively since 2008, reaffirming the fundamental rights of forcefully displaced persons, first and foremost their right of voluntary, safe and dignified return to their homes.
It should be noted that for the first time this year United Nations Member States were given the opportunity to co-sponsor the Resolution and thus participate more actively in a global effort to resolve this important issue. Resolution was joined by 45 UN Member States from different regions. Therefore, the Resolution represents the initiative of not only Georgia, but of 45 countries.
The Resolution condemns the forced demographic changes in the occupied regions, emphasizes the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees, regardless of their ethnicity, to a safe and dignified return to their places of origin, and focuses upon the need to fully respect and protect their property rights. The Resolution reiterates the importance of unimpeded humanitarian access in the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
Apart from the humanitarian context, the Resolution has a practical significance as it tasks the UN Secretary-General to prepare an annual report on the situation of internally displaced persons residing in Georgia as well as on the implementation of this resolution. The above-mentioned has even greater importance in the light of the deploring human right situation in the occupied territories in the absence of international human rights monitoring mechanisms, which constitutes one of the impediments to the safe and dignified return of forcefully displaced persons.
The Resolution calls upon the participants of the Geneva International Discussions to reinvigorate their efforts to ensure security and human rights protection in the occupied regions, which in turn will facilitate the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes.
During the presentation of the Resolution, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, H.E. Kaha Imnadze stressed that the resolution is based on the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement. Mr. Imnadze also emphasized that security and human rights situation inside the occupied Georgian territories remains extremely alarming. People endure kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, seizure of property, as well as continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin including severe restrictions on free movement and residence, and access to education in their native language. Ambassador also stressed that it is heartbreaking to see the Secretary-General’s latest report referring to “tragic loss of life” of the Georgian IDPs while in detention by the occupying power. Such cases are far too often and far too many: Basharuli, Otkhozoria, Tatunashvili, Kvaratskhelia.
During the session the supporting statements were delivered by: Permanent Representative of Ukraine on behalf of the GUAM; Nordic-Baltic States were represented by Permanent Representative of Lithuania, whereas Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia aligned themselves with the statement. In a national capacity the statements were delivered by the representatives of USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Ukraine.
Adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly highlights that the situation in Georgia still remains on the agenda of the world’s most important forum.
The diplomatic service of Georgia will continue its effort on the international arena to protect the fundamental rights of IDPs and refugees who were displaced as a result of ethnic cleansing, as this issue, that implies the full de-occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and ensuring the safe and dignified return of the internally displaced persons, is and will continue to be the main priority of Georgian Government until its final resolution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia would like to express its sincere gratitude to all states that have supported and co-sponsored the resolution on the right of return of the IDPs and refugees and thereby once again expressed their solidarity to each and every forcibly displaced person.
The working meeting of the Legal Issues Committee in view of enforcement of the order of the Constitutional Court
On May 13-14, Borjomi hosted the working meeting held by the Legal Issue Committee, Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice and High Council of Justice within USAID-funded PROLoG. The meeting was dedicated to Development of Legislative Change in view of Enforcement of the Order of the Constitutional Court of February 15, 2017.
The Order declares the normative context of the paragraph 41 of the Article 36 of the organic law on Common Courts as unconstitutional, which envisages appointment of the person as the Judge of the Court of Appeals and the Regional (City) Courts with the term of 3 years who is the incumbent or former judge and has at least 3 years of similar experience.
The Chair of the Committee, Eka Beselia and the Chair of the Supreme Court, Nino Gvenetadze opened the meeting. The meeting aimed at development of the legislative change in view of enforcement of the Constitutional Court Order. The meeting was attended by international organizations and the expert, Judge Timothy J. Baland.
Eka Beselia participating in Public Forum dedicated to the judicial reform
The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Eka Beselia participated in the Public Forum on “Judicial system of Georgia: Reform Outcomes and Perspectives” organized by the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary.
In her speech, she noted that three stages of judicial reform shall be followed with the exact diagnosis and accurate planning of the fourth stage. “The Legal Issues Committee declared that the judicial reform and enhancement of the judicial system are main priorities. All the issues under the Committee competences are important but the priority is conferred to judicial reform continuation and support. Everything is comparative and we shall compare the current situation, where we are now to some other situation. Naturally, we see the dynamics and release the grave situation we were in, moving forward to progress but we do not put full-stop and state about accomplishment of the reform after these three stages. We continue the reforming within the system and monitoring of the process. Particularly important factor I consider is to make the exact diagnosis after three stages, to make accurate assessment of the results, of the gaps to be eliminated, enhanced, corrected and to accurately plan the fourth stage”.
The Court is ready to see the real situation and along with the parties concerned make steps to enhance judicial system and increase independence thereof. “I am full of hopes for the process and believe that we are able in the shortest time to deal with the problems. It requires rational and correct decision-making in the forms and with the methods allowing obtaining optimal results. We are committed to it”.
She thanked EU and USA for support of enhancement of judicial system in Georgia. The Chair of the Coalition, Ana Natsvlishvili; Chair of the Supreme Court, Nino Gvenetadze; Deputy US Ambassador, Nicholas Berliner and the EU Ambassador, Janos Herman also addressed the attendees.
The forum concluded sundry panel discussions. E. Beselia participated in the discussion on Guarantees for Independence of Judges and spoke about efforts for creation of these guarantees, including: improvement of legal procedures of appointment of the judges, increase of social guarantees of judges, 3-year probationary period of judges, business-trip rules of the judges etc. She introduced the record in the draft Constitutional Changes regarding independence of judges.
The Coalition introduced the study results providing reform analysis, overview of the latest tendencies in the judicial system and consideration of the issues related to selection and appointment of the judges, as well as probationary period and life-tenure appointment, number of judges and their specialization, their estimation and promotion, administration of the Court and management etc.
The study is supported by the GYLA, TI-Georgia, Human Rights Training and Monitoring Center and Partnership for Human Rights.
The forum was held by means of USAID-funded PROLoG implemented by EWMI