Committee of Ministers again exhorts Russia to pay damages to Georgia following ECHR judgment on collective expulsions
Strasbourg, 23.09.2022 – The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has deeply deplored the lack of response of the Russian authorities to the Committee’s earlier appeals to implement the Georgia v. Russia (I) judgment from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the arrest, detention and collective expulsion of Georgian nationals in 2006-2007. It again exhorted the Russian authorities to pay the “just satisfaction” awarded to the Georgian government.
In an Interim Resolution (*) published today, the Committee of Ministers recalled that, despite ceasing to be a member of the Council of Europe on 16 March 2022, the Russian Federation is still required to implement judgments of the European Court, and the Committee of Ministers continues to supervise their execution. The Committee deeply deplored that no information was provided by the Russian authorities ahead of the meeting.
In its 2019 judgment on just satisfaction, the European Court of Human Rights determined that Russia was to pay the Georgian government, within three months, 10 million euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals. The European Court also ruled that the Georgian government was to set up an effective mechanism for the distribution of the money to the individual victims.
At its latest regular meeting to supervise the implementation of judgments, the Committee of Ministers again reiterated its profound concern that the payment has not been made, more than three years after the deadline expired.
The Committee firmly reiterated that the payment of just satisfaction awarded by the Court is an unconditional obligation. “Delay in fulfilling this obligation deprives the individual victims of the violations from receiving compensation for the damages suffered by them,” the Committee stressed.
It again exhorted the Russian authorities to pay the just satisfaction, together with the default interest accrued, without any further delay.
The Committee once again invited the authorities of the Council of Europe member states to explore all possible means to ensure the execution of this case and instructed the Secretariat to come up with proposals for a strategy for supervising the execution of pending cases against the Russian Federation. The Committee will resume consideration of this case at their next meeting on execution of ECHR judgments in December 2022.
The Committee of Ministers has also adopted a decision on the execution of the judgment in the case Georgia v. Russia (II) which has become final in October 2021 and concerned various violations in the context of the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008.
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has adopted a decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia”Thursday, 05 May 2022 12:43
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted its ninth decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia” on 4 May 2022.
The decision of the Committee of Ministers establishes the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the grave situation in Georgia’s occupied regions as the State exercising effective control over those regions. The document welcomes the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia that established the responsibility of the Russian Federation for grave human rights violations during the period of occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia following the August 2008 war, as the State exercising effective control over those regions
The Committee of Ministers also welcomes the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant application for the war crimes committed in the context of the August 2008 armed conflict in Georgia, and calls on the Russian Federation to execute the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia as well as to co-operate with the Office of prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The Committee of Ministers expresses deep concern over the death of Genadi Bestaev, calls for removal of any obstacles to ending impunity in cases concerning the murder of ethnic Georgians in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and recalls the “Otkhozaria-Tatunashvili List” adopted by the Parliament of Georgia, and the national restrictive measures decided on by the Georgian Government against those responsible for grave human rights abuses in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
The Decision reiterates the call to the Russian Federation as the State exercising effective control: to immediately release Irakli Bebua, Mamuka Chkhikvadze and all other illegal detainees; to create conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of all IDPs and refugees; calls for ensuring that the Council of Europe monitoring bodies are granted access to the Georgian regions concerned.
The document highlights the importance of engagement of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary General in monitoring the human righst situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes yet another decision of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the conflict in Georgia and thanks the CoE Member States for firm support and cooperation.
MFA of Georgia
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held its 131st Session by videoconference, on 21 May 2021, where Germany passed its chairmanship to Hungary. The Georgian Foreign Minister, Vice Prime Minister David Zalkaliani spoke before the participants of the Ministerial Meeting, which took note of the Secretary General’s 23rd consolidated report on “the Conflict in Georgia” covering the humanitarian and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories from October 2020 to March 2021.
The Ministerial Meeting highlighted the decision adopted by Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on “Council of Europe and the Conflict in Georgia” which holds Russia as the State exercising effective control over the occupied regions, accountable for the deplorable situation on the ground.
Speaking before the Ministerial Meeting, the Georgian Foreign Minister reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to the organization’s principles and values, and the initiatives the government carries out to bring the country closer to the organization’s standards.
Discussing the difficult security and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied regions, the Minister said that Russia’s illegal activities bring about negative consequences for the local population. Paying special attention to increasing number of illegal detentions by the occupation regime, Zalkaliani expressed his grave concern over the decision to prolong for more than twelve years the illegal detention of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze, and called for the international community’s strong position for immediately release of Zaza Gakheladze and all other illegal detainees. Referring to the judgment dated 21 January 2021 of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia, Zalkaliani said that this judgement lays down the firm groundwork for the success of Georgia’s efforts to achieve the de-occupation of Georgian territories and protection of human rights of the people affected by the Russian aggression.
It needs to be highlighted that the Hungarian Presidency identified as its priority the environmental challenges – one of the priorities of the Georgian presidency of the Committee of Ministers (November 2019 – May 2020).
“The environmental emergency, and especially climate change are among the greatest threats to human rights in our age. Continuing the process started by the Georgian Presidency, the Hungarian Presidency will also aim to strengthen environmental protection work in the Council of Europe through its existing instruments to secure better human rights protection standards in member States” – reads the document on Priorities of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its thanks for the efforts of the German Presidency, welcomes the priorities presented by the Hungarian Presidency and pledges its full support for its implementation.
“The decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is unprecedented, as it introduces the term occupation at the executive level for the first time,” the Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani declared on Thursday.
“Our main priority is to make the Russian-Georgian conflict issue real in the international arena and mobilize the support of the international community. We have another important success in this direction. The CoE Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg has adopted a decision on Georgia. We have been adopting such documents within this organization every year since 2014. But the decision is unprecedented this year as the term occupation has been introduced at the executive level for the first time,” FM said.
Zalkaliani underscored that the Committee of Ministers welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Georgia v. Russia war case.
“Committee of Ministers welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Georgia v. Russia 2008 war case that established the responsibility of the Russian Federation for grave human rights violations during the occupation of the Georgian Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region following the August 2008 war,” the Minister said.
According to Zalkaliani, the Committee of Ministers called on Russia to execute the ECHR judgment.
“In addition, it calls on the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control, to ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, by taking concrete steps outlined in detail in the document. Committee calls on Russia to secure immediate and unrestricted access of the Council of Europe bodies to the Georgian regions,” Minister said.
Zalkaliani praised all members of the organization who supported this decision.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took its eighth decision on Georgia on May 12, 2012.
Strasbourg, 15.05.2020 – Greece today took over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from Georgia during a video-conference meeting with representatives of the 47 member states of the Organisation.
The Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, presented the stocktaking of his country's presidency. The Greek Minister with responsibility for Foreign/European Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, outlined the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship for the next six months.
Given the current context, Greece has chosen to focus its chairmanship on the protection of public health and responses to the health crisis, while at the same time ensuring respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Other priorities include the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, along with the protection of vulnerable children and the rights of the younger generations in the fields of digital education, the environment and social issues.
On 4 November, Athens will host the session of the Committee of Ministers bringing together the 47 Foreign Ministers, and the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. Germany will then succeed Greece as Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Organisation.
The Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will officially be transferred from Georgia to Greece today. The chairmanship will be passed at the meeting of the CoE committee of ministers in Strasbourg.
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting will be opened by Irakli Giviashvili, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the Council of Europe.
Georgia’s Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani will deliver a speech and sum up the achievements and results of Georgia’s Presidency, will review the measures taken in terms of the implementation of the priorities of Georgia’s chairmanship and the cultural program.
The meeting will also be addressed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
After Davit Zalkaliani’s speech, the Ambassador of Georgia will hand over the symbolic key of the chairmanship to the Permanent Representative of Greece to the Council of Europe.
The Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was transferred from France to Georgia during a meeting held in Strasbourg, the Organisation’s headquarters, on November 27 of 2019. The priorities of the Georgian Chairmanship included human rights and environmental protection, the participation of civil society in decision-making, child-friendly justice, and education, culture and youth engagement in strengthening democracy.
Statement of the President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, regarding the 71st anniversary of the Council of Europe
Today, the 5th of May, marks the anniversary of the signing of the Statute of the Council of Europe in London by ten countries.
This historic development represents the first attempt towards a united European action to promote peaceful coexistence, prevent conflicts and promote and protect the fundamental rights of all individuals in Europe, without exception.
The Council of Europe, with its 47 member States, has been instrumental in agreeing common standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law for over 7 decades. Let me underline the fundamental role of the European Convention on Human Rights, drafted seventy years ago in 1950, by the then newly founded Council of Europe, that enabled the setting-up of a unique human rights protection system, constituting the anchor of European co-operation. I hope that this new decade will bring us the same determination to defend human rights as that of the authors of the Convention 70 years ago. It should be recalled that more than 830 million people living in our common European space have an ultimate right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
This important anniversary coincides with an unprecedented global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our heartfelt sympathies go to those who have lost their loved ones, family members and friends. At this critical crossroads, we all have to be united and determined to do our utmost to overcome the current crisis.
After more than 7 decades of service to peace, democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, the Council of Europe has contributed to number of significant achievements but there is still much more to accomplish. It is more urgent than ever to intensify our efforts to solidify respect for human rights in the years to come.”
David Zalkaliani, President of the Committee of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, has expressed his satisfaction following the Committee of Ministers’ adoption of a Declaration on the COVID-19 pandemic.
"During this very difficult time we are living through, I am pleased that the 47 member States of the Council of Europe have agreed on the need to continue to co-operate to fight the pandemic together, without ever losing sight of the Organisation's values and standards," he said.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in which all of its 47 member States are represented, expresses its deep sadness at the suffering and bereavement caused in Europe and elsewhere in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It expresses its profound gratitude to all those who, at the risk of their own health, are fighting to overcome this terrible disease and bring relief and care for those who are seriously ill. It also expresses its deep gratitude to all those who continue to work in order to ensure that people’s basic material needs can be met.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the worst health crisis since the Organisation was founded in 1949, and authorities at all levels must do their utmost to protect people's health in all circumstances, including the most vulnerable members of our societies.
The challenge we face today is unprecedented. The Committee of Ministers recalls its deep and constant attachment to its core values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as expressed in the Statute of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. It also recalls that measures to combat the disease and its wider consequences must be taken in accordance with the Organisation's principles and the commitments entered into by member States. The Secretary General’s information document on “Respecting democracy, rule of law and human rights in the framework of the Covid-19 sanitary crisis: a toolkit for member States” provides useful guidance in this respect.
The Committee of Ministers considers that solidarity and co-operation between States is essential to deal effectively with the pandemic, and underlines that the Council of Europe, including its Development Bank, will continue to make every effort to assist its member States during this crisis and its aftermath.
David Zalkaliani: ‘We must keep the same determination to defend human rights as that of the authors of the Convention 70 years ago’Tuesday, 28 January 2020 15:37
In his address to the Assembly today, the Georgian Minister for Foreign Affairs and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, David Zalkaliani, highlighted the fundamental role of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enabled the setting-up of a unique human rights protection system, that constitutes “the anchor of European co-operation, both at governmental and parliamentary level”. “I hope that the new decade will bring us the same determination to defend human rights as that of the authors of the Convention 70 years ago,” he said.
Mr Zalkaliani also mentioned the main developments within the Committee of Ministers since October, and announced a number of events organised in the framework of the Georgian Presidency with regards to its priorities, namely: human rights and environmental protection, civil society and citizens participation in the decision-making process, the creation of a child-friendly justice system, as well as promoting democracy through education, culture and youth engagement.
With regard to the co-operation with international organisations, he announced that the Committee of Ministers had approved the mandate of its Steering Committee for Human Rights to finalise, in co-operation with representatives of the EU, the legal instruments setting out the modalities of the accession of the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights. “I very much hope that this work will be concluded successfully and as rapidly as possible. It is essential that the Council of Europe and the European Union ensure the coherence of the human rights protection system in Europe,” he underlined.
Georgia is holding the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers for the first time since joining the Organisation in 1999.
Strasbourg, 22.01.2020 – Today the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the new Youth sector strategy 2030 which will provide policy guidance to the 50 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention for the ten years to come.
Young people’s creativity, dynamism, social commitment and competences are crucial for any sustainable democratic society. For almost fifty years, the Council of Europe youth sector has been supporting generations of young people and their organisations to become actors of social change and assists public authorities to implement participative youth policies.
The new Youth sector strategy 2030 will give a new impetus to this work in four thematic priorities:
- Youth revitalising pluralistic democracy,
- Young people’s access to rights,
- Living together in peaceful and inclusive societies and
- Youth Work.
The Committee of Ministers, when adopting the new strategy, stressed the importance of the unique geographical scope and role of the Council of Europe youth sector and its instruments, including the co-management system, the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest, the European Youth Foundation, and the partnership with the European Commission in the field of youth.
The Youth sector strategy 2030 is being launched in the framework of the Georgian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers (November 2019 – May 2020) which attaches the highest importance to the full and meaningful participation of young people in European societies, and aims notably at “strengthening democracy through education, culture and youth engagement”.