Training Conducted at the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia with the Participation of International and Local Experts

Published in Justice
Monday, 03 October 2016 15:00

Training for prosecutors and system investigator son the topic of privacy was conducted at the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia. In the framework of the existing cooperation between the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia and the Council of Europe, the training course was held with the support of the joint European Union and Council of Europe Project “Application of the European Convention of Human Rights in Georgia and harmonization of national legislation and judicial in line with European standards”.
The training process was led by international and local experts invited by the Council of Europe - Ivana Roanaand Levan Meskhoradze. In the framework of the two-day training course, the following issues had been discussed in the light of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: gender identity and sexual orientation, violence on children and other vulnerable persons, protection of personal data, covert surveillance, search/seizure and other important matters. Participants have learned the case-law of and precedent decisions delivered by the European Court of Human Rights with respect to the above issues. The training process included numerous practical exercises.
Trainings on such issues are being permanently held at the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. A total of 48 prosecutors and system investigators have been retrained in the scope of the training. The training is aimed at the professional development of officers of the prosecution system on the right to privacy, and promoting the introduction of European standards.  

Meeting with Election Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Published in Politics
Thursday, 15 September 2016 11:35

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a meeting with the representatives of the Election Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The parties discussed electoral environment in the country as well as the ongoing political processes. 
Giorgi Kvirikashvili reasserted the readiness of the Government of Georgia to ensure holding of elections in democratic, free and transparent environment and provide maximum support to the effective activities of the monitoring missions.
"Very important election is ahead of us. The role of the Observation Mission is great in this process. For the purpose of evaluation pre-election environment and elections, Government of Georgia has invited number of international organizations, including: OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, European Parliament, Arab League, African Union, International Republic Institute, National Democratic Institute, etc," - Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted.
During the meeting it was noted that within the frames of international observation mission,around 400 observers will monitor the Parliamentary Elections of October 8.
PACE pre-election mission is headed by Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), Maryvonne Blondin (France, SOC), Jordi Xuclà (Spain, ALDE), IngebjørgGodskesen (Norway, EC) , Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), BorissCilevics (Latvia, SOC), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia, Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia.
PACE also plans to designate a 32-member delegation to Georgia on the election day to observe the voting process. 
Meeting at the Administration of the Government of Georgia was attended by Minister of Justice of Georgia Tea Tsulukiani, Vice Speaker of the Parliament Manana Kobakhidze and deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gigi Gigiadze.

PACE delegation makes pre-electoral visit to Georgia

Published in Society
Saturday, 10 September 2016 12:55

A seven-member, cross-party delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), will carry out a pre-electoral mission to Georgia on 13-14 September 2016, to assess the election campaign and political climate prior to the parliamentary elections on 8 October.

In Tbilisi, the delegation is due to meet the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Internal Affairs Minister and the Chair of the Central Election Commission, as well as the head of the National Communications Commission.

The delegation will also meet leaders and representatives of parties running in the election, as well as representatives of the media, NGOs and the diplomatic community.
A full 32-member delegation from the Assembly will return to the country to observe the election itself.
The pre-electoral delegation will issue a statement at the end of the visit.

Members of the delegation:

Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), head of the delegation
Maryvonne Blondin (France, SOC)
Jordi Xuclà (Spain, ALDE)
Ingebjørg Godskesen (Norway, EC)
Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL)
Boriss Cilevičs (Latvia, SOC), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia
Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia


Published in Politics
Friday, 02 September 2016 11:45

The training organized by the CEC was held for the Chairpersons and Lawyers of District Election Commissions (DEC) in Kvareli. The training was attended by the CEC members, its officials, representatives of the CEC Legal Department and the DECs coordinators.
The DECs chairpersons and lawyers were acquainted with the amendments to election legislation and recommendations concerning the process of registering complaints. In addition, the CEC legal department developed a document (comparison of the old and new regulations) about the amendments introduced to the “Election Code of Georgia”, for the purpose of informing the meeting participants and for applying new norms later. In collaboration with NGO’s the manual was updated regarding the election disputes and prohibition of the use of administrative resources as well as the document on uniform practice for applying of sanctions in disciplinary liability measures.
Council of Europe and Venice Commission expert Mr. Serhiy Kalchenko also took part at the meeting. He shared with the meeting participants European and international best practices on Election Disputes Resolution (EDR) and prevention of misuse of administrative resources.
The training held on 27-31 August, in Kvareli, was co-funded within the framework of Programmatic Co-operation of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Venice Commission.

Public service media in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – the current situation

Published in Society
Monday, 25 July 2016 13:57

European Audiovisual Observatory publishes a new free report on PSM in the Transcaucasian countries

Strasbourg, 25.07.2016 – It’s twenty five years since Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – the Transcaucasian countries – came out from under Soviet rule and were able to develop their own independent public media. But twenty five years on, how are they dealing with the challenges of maintaining a credible system of public service media? The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has just relased a unique new report free to download here entitled Public service media in Transcaucasian countries.

This new IRIS Extra report is authored by Ekaterina Abashina, a researcher at Lomonosov Moscow State University. She opens by analysing the evolution of the public service broadcasting concept in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Public service companies were first established in this region in the early 2000s, replacing the Soviet model state-run broadcasters.

Moving on to look at the governance of public service broadcasting, Abashina makes a useful comparison of the three systems. Common elements emerge from her analysis such as a declaration of commitment to public service broadcasting values through their stipulation in the relevant legal framework; the application of state funding, detailed regulation of appointment procedures of governing bodies and general content requirements (though these are formulated more as guidance principles).

The following chapter focuses on programming policies in these three countries. In the cases of Armenia and Azerbaijan their respective Boards are entitled to approve programming schedules and programme structures but they do not communicate these to the public and do not announce or present them in any way. The Georgian PSB Board issues quite a detailed and annually updated programming concept (“Programming Priorities”) – made available on the website of the broadcaster every year; the “Programming Priorities” of the Georgian PSB are indeed purely advisory in nature.

It is clear that the creation of PSB companies in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan was fostered by their joining the Council of Europe (CoE). The author focuses her penultimate chapter on the role of international organisations such as the CoE and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (OSCE RFOM). Their membership of the CoE has imposed upon these countries the adoption of or amendments to existing national broadcasting laws to incorporate the CoE principles on PSB. In addition, regular evaluative CoE reports are written about the media in all of their member states; although these rather play an interpretative and explanatory role for the regulation and operation of public broadcasting. For its part, the OSCE RFOM has designed specific recommendations for the development of PSB in this region and on the creation of an inter-regional platform for the exchange of ideas and experience on PSB practice within the region.

Abashina concludes that PSB in these countries has suffered from “common weak spots” such as “the lack of safeguards for the independence of PSB companies from political interests due to loopholes in appointment mechanisms for the governing bodies […]; unstable funding sources; lack of specific legal programming requirements; and absence of effective mechanisms of interaction with its audiences and audience research.” She does however underline the role of international organisations like the CoE and the OSCE who, while they cannot directly influence PSB systems, “are active and consistent promoters of PSB values and best practice in the Transcaucasian region.”

A unique analysis of the current legal structures and governance of PSM in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Georgia: EU and CoE facilitate discussion on media and internet freedoms ahead of elections

Published in World
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 20:34

The developments and challenges facing the Georgian media and internet sector ahead of the parliamentary elections will be discussed during a two-day meeting that started in the country’s capital today. Gathering relevant national stakeholders, the event is organised in the framework of the joint EU/Council of Europe Programmatic Cooperation Framework (EU/CoE PCF) Programme aimed at protecting internet freedom through legislation and multi-stakeholder dialogue.
The joint EU/CoE PCF aims to provide extensive and substantial expertise on strengthening the capacity of institutions in the six Eastern Partnership countries to implement domestic reforms and bring them closer to Council of Europe and European Union standards in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and improve the lives of citizens. The EU’s contribution to the PCF is EUR 30 million.. (EU Neighbourhood Info).

Turkey after the attempted coup: ensuring respect for the rule of law and basic rights is essential

Published in World
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 10:05

“I condemn the attempted coup in Turkey and deplore the loss of life in the events of the weekend. It is now very important to identify facts and bring to justice those responsible,” said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in a statement today.

“At the same time, to protect democratic institutions, it is equally important that the relevant legal procedures are carried out in accordance with the rule of law and human rights standards that Turkey has subscribed to as a member of the Council of Europe, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the Strasbourg Court. In this context, the swift dismissal and arrest of thousands of judges, prosecutors, police officers and senior civil servants raises questions,” said the President.

“I am also worried about the announced discussion on the re-establishment of the death penalty. This would go against the country’s international commitments – as a member state of the Council of Europe, Turkey has signed and ratified Protocol No. 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and its Protocol No. 13 banning the death penalty in all circumstances,” said Mr Agramunt.

“The Council of Europe stands ready to support the Turkish authorities, on the basis of the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he concluded.

PACE President calls for respect of democratic institutions and Council of Europe standards in Turkey

Published in World
Saturday, 16 July 2016 13:50

"Turkey is our member state and we support Turkey's democratic institutions and authorities. Attempts to change a democratically elected government by force are unacceptable and I condemn last night’s violence that has made at least 90 victims" stressed PACE President.
"It is now important to restore order, keep calm and uphold democratic principles and institutions. The Assembly and all Council of Europe bodies are at the disposal of Turkey to provide support" concluded PACE President.

Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland on the situation in Turkey

Published in World
Saturday, 16 July 2016 10:32

Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland on the situation in Turkey:

"Any attempt to overthrow the democratically elected leaders in Turkey is unacceptable in a member state of the Council of Europe, which defends democracy, human rights and the rule of law."

Security and safety in stadiums: fourteen countries pave the way for implementation of the new Council of Europe Convention

Published in Sport
Monday, 04 July 2016 09:25
The Council of Europe Convention on an integrated safety, security and service approach at football matches and other sports events was opened for signature today at a ceremony held the Stade de France, in the presence of several European ministers.
The Convention ( was signed by 14 States: Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine.
“This convention is a major step forward to boost international co-operation needed to make football matches and other sporting events safe, secure and enjoyable for supporters. It’s an opportune moment, with preparations underway for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, and UEFA’s Euro 2020, which will be held in 13 countries around Europe” – Thorbjørn Jagland, Council of Europe Secretary General.
“UEFA is very pleased that the Council of Europe and European States take the security and safety of all participants in sport events very seriously, and we are looking forward to continuously working closely with all stakeholders to ensure peaceful and safe football matches across the continent” – Michael van Praag, UEFA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the UEFA Stadia and Security Committee.
“The Convention we are signing today sends out a strong signal of our commitment to preventing and combatting violence in the stadiums, by placing the dialogue between the different actors and the relationship between the public authorities and the fans at the centre of the organisation of major international sporting events” – Thierry Braillard, France’s State Secretary for Sport.
The Convention aims to promote hospitality and safety of spectators inside and outside stadiums, improve dialogue between the police, local authorities, football clubs and supporters, strengthen international police co-operation, and to prevent and punish hooliganism through effective measures.
It is open to Council of Europe member and non-member states and will come into force following its ratification by three signatory states.
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