U.S. Embassy Statement on Judgement of the European Court of Human Rights
In the state-to-state case of Georgia v. Russia on the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, the Court ruled clearly in favor of Georgia and found Russia responsible for violating multiple articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, including by detaining and torturing individuals, and denying Georgian citizens the right to return to their homes. The court further found the Russian government has not conducted a full or adequate investigation into the events that took place during and after the hostilities.
The Court’s ruling adds further weight to the international community’s demand that Russia cease its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia’s attempts to control and exploit the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia through borderization, arbitrary detentions, restrictions of movement across the administrative boundary lines, and establishment of socio-economic and military “agreements” between Russia and the two Georgian regions are particularly concerning and unacceptable. These actions threaten the lives, culture, and personal freedoms of people living in these Georgian territories, and deny them the ability to exercise rights and access opportunities that should be available to all Georgian citizens.
STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, on the basis of Article 17418 under the Code of Administrative Offenses, launched administrative proceedings, which implies Desecration of official symbols of the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or other international organizations or desecration of the flag or coat of arms of other states.The law enforcement officers will identify and fine the violators.The Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on rally participants gathered near the Parliament, not to go beyond the limits defined by the law on freedom of assembly and expression, observe the norms of public order and follow the lawful requests of police.Each act of violation will be immediately foiled by police and strict legal response will be followed.
STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
Briefing of the Director of the Central Criminal Police Department – Teimuraz KupatadzeAs is known to the public, on March 7 and 8, protest rally was held near the Legislative Body of Georgia and on Rustaveli Avenue, which went beyond the norms established by the law on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and turned into violent actions.First of all, I would like to emphasize that it is categorically not allowed to verbally assault, attack or carry out violent actions against police officers.Within these two days, as a result of the violent actions of the rally participants, 58 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were injured, among them 5 are still in various medical facilities.Everyone witnessed clearly how they threw burning objects, pyrotechnics or the so-called “Molotov cocktails” to my colleagues, as a result of which several of them received severe burns.Herewith, it was clearly visible in media live coverages how rally participants threw various blunt objects, stones, wooden or iron objects at the police, as a result of which many policemen received severe injuries.The Ministry of Internal Affairs studies each case of violence against police officers, and the identified criminals will be brought to justice with the full severity of the law.We would like to provide the public with summarized information on the recent events in the area surrounding the Parliament and on Rustaveli Avenue.On March 7 of the current year, after announcing that manifestation was planned to take place, the representatives of the relevant units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in order to protect public order, were stationed near the legislative body and ensured the peaceful conduct of manifestation.However, at the end of the day, the participants of the rally tried to block the entrances to the Parliament.In order to restore public order, based on the necessity, police consistently applied proportional force and special means of coercion provided by the Law of Georgia "On Police" after the warning announcements.Despite numerous calls from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to continue manifestation within the framework of the law, protesters continued their violent actions on Chichinadze and Chitadze streets.In order to ease the tension and de-escalate the situation, the police forces opened the road for the rally participants, cleared the streets surrounding the Parliament and called on them to continue manifestation peacefully.Nevertheless, the rally participants threw various objects - stones, so-called “Molotov Cocktails”, inflammables, blunt objects - at the direction of the police officers, and physically attacked and resisted them. They also damaged vehicles on purpose belonging to the Ministry and special police gear.Later on, the crowd began an organized attack on the parliament building, throwing so-called Molotov cocktails and pyrotechnics.We all saw that the protesters set fire to the building of the legislative body, threw stones, broke the windows and damaged the protective barriers.Deliberate, mass violation of public order continued for several hours. In order to restore the public order, the police applied the proportional force and special means several times.During the manifestation, the law enforcement officers arrested 66 people in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, on the facts of petty hooliganism and disobedience to the legal demands of the police.The rally continued on the second day near the legislative body.In order to de-escalate the situation, employees of various police units were stationed in the inner territory of the Parliament.Throughout the day, the police protected the public order in the area surrounding the legislative body.Within the framework of the mandate defined by the Law of Georgia "On the Police", with the purpose to ensure safety, the police carried out superficial inspection of citizens near the place where manifestation was held, as a result of which 10 people were arrested. They brought illegal items at the rally, intended for violent actions, including stun gun, batons, stones, and various types of pyrotechnics.The participants of the rally gathered in front of the Parliament had the opportunity to hold a protest in a peaceful and safe environment.Nevertheless, calls for violent actions were periodically heard from individuals.After one of the speakers called on the gathered people to picket the legislative body, the protesters began to block the entrances leading to the parliament and picket the building.The gathered people damaged the protective barriers located near the parliament building, entrance doors, smashed the building's windows, damaged the iron grilles, threw stones, various objects and pyrotechnics at the parliament building and yard.Therefore, the police forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in order to maintain public order, prevent violent and aggressive actions from the side of law-breakers, applied appropriate coercive measures and special means provided by the Law of Georgia "On Police".Despite numerous attempts by the police to defuse the tense situation, the people gathered on Rustaveli Avenue started attacks in the direction of the police officers, throwing Molotov cocktails, stones, wooden poles and other objects.The rally participants damaged, overturned and set fire to vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They damaged the bus of the Special Tasks Department with stones, painted and damaged the fire truck as well. Material property belonging to Tbilisi City Hall was damaged as well.Throughout the night, the participants of manifestation violated the public order and the rule of law, resisted police officers, damaged the infrastructure and set fire to various things on the central avenue and its surrounding locations.On March 7-8 of the current year, due to the facts of law violations that occurred during the protest rally in the vicinity of the Parliament, the law enforcement officers arrested one individual under Article 353(1) while 133 people were taken under arrest in total in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 envisioned by the Code of Administrative Offences.Some of the detainees were brought before the court yesterday. The rest of the arrestees were released, as the term of stay in the temporary detention center was expired and will appear at the court later.the Ministry of Internal Affairs continues investigation in order to determine, identify and arrest all those who attacked policemen and other violent actions during the protest.Violent incidents are being investigated under Articles 353 (1) and 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation under articles 353 and 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia in connection with violent incidents that took place in Tbilisi, Rustaveli Avenue, near the Parliament building.The law enforcement officers arrested 66 people in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 under the Code of Administrative Offenses, on the facts of minor hooliganism and disobedience to the legal request of the law enforcement officer. The facts of the offense committed by the mentioned individuals shall be submitted to the court within the time frame established by the law.From the side of the Ministry, the appropriate legal assessment will be given to the actions of all individuals who facilitated and organized the development of a peaceful protest into violent action.Yesterday, throughout the day, the relevant units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were mobilized near the parliament building in order to ensure the public order and peaceful conduct of the manifestation.Later, the protest of the gathered went beyond the limits established by law on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and took a violent turn.Participants of the rally attempted to block entrances of the Parliament, which was prevented by police. Despite numerous calls from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to express their protest in a peaceful manner within the framework of the law, rally participants continued their violent actions and ignored the legal requirements of the law enforcement officers.The police, in order to ease the tension and de-escalate the situation, opened the road and called on protesters to disperse. However, the rally participants threw various objects - stones, inflammables, blunt objects – to the direction of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, physically assaulted and resisted the policemen. Participants of the rally damaged and set fire to vehicles belonging to the Ministry as well as special police equipment.In order to restore public order and foil violations of the law, the police was forced to gradually apply proportional force and special means of coercion provided by the Law of Georgia "On Police" based on the necessity and after the appropriate warning.Later, the gathered people started an organized attack on the parliament building, throwing the so-called "Molotov cocktails" and pyrotechnics, including in the direction of law enforcement officers.Members of the manifestation set fire to the building of the legislative body, threw stones, smashed windows and damaged the iron protective barriers.There was a mass violation of law and order from the side of rally participants, which persisted continuously for several hours.As a result of the violent actions of the assembled citizens, up to 50 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were injured, several of them required surgical intervention and are still in medical institutions. During the manifestation, citizens were injured as well.The Ministry will study all facts of violation that took place during the manifestation and will give an appropriate legal assessment to each one of them.
Georgia: Statement by the High Representative on the adoption of the “foreign influence” law
On Tuesday, the Georgian Parliament adopted the new law on “transparency of foreign influence” in a first reading. This is a very bad development for Georgia and its people.
The law in its current form risks having a chilling effect on civil society and media organisations, with negative consequences for the many Georgians benefiting from their work. This law is incompatible with EU values and standards. It goes against Georgia’s stated objective of joining the European Union, as supported by a large majority of Georgian citizens. Its final adoption may have serious repercussions on our relations.
The European Union urges Georgia to uphold its commitment to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and recalls the right of people to a peaceful protest.
Georgia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the draft law on “transparency of foreign influence”
The proposed draft law on “transparency of foreign influence” raises serious concerns. Creating and maintaining an enabling environment for civil society organisations and ensuring media freedom is at the core of democracy. It is also key to the EU accession process and part of the 12 priorities, notably priority 7 on media freedom and priority 10 on the involvement of civil society.
The European Union is supporting Georgia in its reform efforts, responding to the country’s own aspirations for continued development and EU membership, as enshrined in Georgia’s Constitution.
The draft law’s adoption would be inconsistent with these aspirations and with EU norms and values.
We encourage the political leaders in Georgia to adopt and implement reforms that are in line with the stated objective of joining the European Union, as supported by a large majority of Georgia’s citizens.
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