ANAKLIA DEVELOPMENT CONSORTIUM AND PRINCIPAL INTERNATIONAL INVESTOR FILE ARBITRATION CLAIMS AGAINST GEORGIA

Published in Economics
Thursday, 30 July 2020 13:44

Claims Seek Substantial Damages Caused by Government’s Campaign to Undermine Port Project
that would have created Economic Prosperity for Georgia
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 30 July, 2020 – The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) and Mr. Bob Meijer, one of its
principal investors, on 29 July filed separate arbitration claims against Georgia in relation to their rights in the
Anaklia Port Project. Together the two claims seek to recover the value of ADC's and Mr. Meijer’s rights in the
Project. The value of those rights is substantial, in excess of US$ 1.0 billion, representing ADC's and Mr. Meijer's
losses directly resulting from the Georgian Government’s campaign to undermine the Anaklia Port Project.
ADC was awarded the Anaklia Port Project in 2016. The Project (together with an associated Special Economic
Zone) is intended to make Georgia a strategic hub for regional trade between Asia and Europe, creating
thousands of jobs and generating substantial taxes and revenue for the government, and revitalize the Georgian
economy at a time when the nation most needs an economic boost. There is no other port facility or location
along the Black Sea in Georgia other than Anaklia that is capable of fulfilling the economic promise of a worldclass deep water port.
The Anaklia Development Consortium, which was established to develop the Anaklia Port Project, is comprised
of both Georgian and international investors. ADC is bringing its claim in the International Court of Arbitration
of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Mr. Meijer, a prominent Dutch businessman with a long
record of successful investments in Georgia and worldwide, is bringing his claim in the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), under the Georgia-Netherlands Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Following a two-year campaign by the current Government and the ruling Georgian Dream Party to block ADC’s
efforts to succeed with the Project, in January 2020 the Government unlawfully terminated the agreement and,
in the process, caused ADC and it investors to lose the full sum of their investments, denying them future profits
and causing them to be damaged financially and reputationally.
Even though the Government had originally awarded ADC the sole right to develop the Project following a
competitive and transparent selection process, and even though it was understood that Government support
was necessary for the success of the Project in order to enable ADC to attract international investors and
financing, in fact the Government changed course and undertook an overt and covert campaign to ensure the
Project could never succeed.
Representatives of the Government on numerous occasions criticized the Project and its shareholders, publicly
and in private meetings, telling potential investors and lenders that the Government did not wish them to
Anaklia Development Consortium.
participate, and making clear to U.S. government officials that the Project did not have the support of the
Georgian government. This aggressive campaign against the Anaklia Port Project by the Government caused
great damage to ADC and its investors.
Among the illegal and unethical actions of the Government and the Georgian Dream party was the launching of
a baseless money laundering criminal investigation against Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, two
prominent and successful Georgia businessmen who are principal investors in the Project. The intention of the
slanderous allegations against Messrs. Khazaradze and Japaridze was to discourage any investors or lenders
from supporting the Project. Such support was necessary for the Project to proceed. Unfortunately the
Government’s campaign succeeded, insofar as investors and lenders withdrew their interest and declined to
participate in the Project without a clear statement of support by the Georgian Government. Both the Public
Defender of Georgia and Transparency International Georgia subsequently found that the charges against
Messrs. Khazaradze and Japaridze were without merit.
The following statement from ADC reflects the views of ADC and Mr. Meijer:
“The investors of the Anaklia Development Consortium continue to believe firmly that the Anaklia Port
Project and Special Economic Zone should be allowed to proceed, and that the Project will create
unequalled economic opportunity for Georgia. However, that success can only come with the active
support of the Government, and we remain committed to finding a way to get this Project back on track.
“In the meantime, ADC and its investors must protect their interests. While we have made every effort
to engage with the Government to explore possible solutions, we have been rebuffed at every step.
“In a patriotic gesture, ADC paused in its filing of these claims during the height of the Covid-19
pandemic, so as not to burden the Government with any distractions as it fought to protect Georgians.
“Regrettably, the Government is forcing this decision to commence arbitration, and the Government
must bear the responsibility for its consequences.
“The Government would have everyone believe that it terminated the investment agreement because
ADC failed to meet certain obligations under the contract. In reality, the Government deliberately acted
to ensure that ADC could not succeed with Project development. In this instance the Government abused
its power because the ruling party and its leader decided the Project’s success was contrary to their own
political and economic interests. In the process, the people of Georgia are victimized by the
Government’s conduct.
“The reversal of the Government’s support for the Anaklia Port Project and ADC, and its aggressive
campaign to undermine the Project, ADC and its investors (driven at the behest of the Georgian Dream
party and its leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili) seem to be driven by several motives but there are two obvious
ones. First, it would appear that Mr. Ivanishvili may have a vested interest in the development of the
free industrial zone connected to Poti Port. Second, it would seem that Mr. Ivanishvili and Georgian
Dream are sensitive to pressure from Russia, which has made clear its opposition to a deep water port at
Anaklia (which is very close to the de facto border with Russian-occupied Abkhazia) and the western
support that would come with it.
“By its campaign to undermine the Anaklia Port Project and force it into arbitration, the Government is
damaging the Georgian economy. Beyond the matter of foregoing the economic benefits that the
Anaklia Port and economic zone would generate or the unnecessary considerable financial liability, the
Government is in effect discouraging international investors from pursuing any investments in
Georgia, facilitating the further loss of jobs and revenues by the country and stalling the momentum for
placing Georgia on the map as a regional trade hub between Asia and Western Europe.
“Finally, the manner in which the Government has conducted itself in its attacks on ADC, its investors
and the Project itself could be in violation of one of the conditions of the proposed U.S. government aid
to Georgia, under which 15% of the aid is withheld until the U.S. Secretary of State can affirm that the
Government of Georgia has been, according to the legislation, ‘protecting the rights of foreign
businesses to operate free from harassment and to fully realize all due commercial and financial benefits
resulting from investments made in Georgia.’
“The responsibility for these consequences rests solely with the current Government and the ruling
party.”
NOTE: ADC and Mr. Meijer are represented by a team led by Mr. Andy Moody at Baker McKenzie in London and
Ms. Ketevan Kvartskhava at BLC in Tbilisi.
Further details can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com

Comment by the MFA of Georgia in response to the comment of the Information and Press Department of the MFA of the RF

Published in Politics
Friday, 29 May 2020 15:52

On May, 26th, while Georgia was receiving congratulations from the neighboring and partner countries honoring its Independence Day, the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation disseminated another falsehood on the functioning of the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia.

The above-mentioned disinformation is of particular concern in the context when activity of the Center is widely recognized as one of the vital factors in successful struggle of the Government of Georgia against the coronavirus pandemic and functioning of the Center is highly appreciated by the Georgian society along with international community.

Georgia’s relevant agencies have repeatedly commented on the details of the status and functioning of the Center, however Russia’s constant provocations have forced us to address the issue again since we see the urgent need to attract attention of the international community to the Russia’s fabrications and rude attempts to diminish the role of successful institution contributing to the security of Georgia and throughout the entire region.

The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center functions as an integral laboratory unit of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. The facility was launched in 2013 and represents the highest level institution of the Laboratory Network of Disease Epidemiological Surveillance which, itself, is a referral center of the Georgian Public Health System.

Construction of the facility started in 2004 based on a framework Agreement signed by the US and the Georgian Governments in 1997 as well as Agreement of 2002 between the US Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Georgia “On Cooperation in the field of prevention of the introduction of pathogenesis and experience related to biological weapons development.”

The Lugar Center, along with its equipment were fully transmitted to the ownership of the Government of Georgia and since 2018 the Lugar Center along with the laboratory network have been fully financed by the Government of Georgia. Structurally, the Lugar Center is a subdivision of the Center for Disease Control and a part of the Georgian Healthcare System.
The Lugar Center unites the 2nd and the 3rd level biosecurity laboratories equipped by the modern equipment with the aim to timely detect and identify the pathogens that cause dangerous diseases in humans and animals based on the principle of “United health”.
Three virology (poliomyelitis, influenza and measles) laboratories accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO) operate in the Center. Besides, under the international quality control, the following laboratories operate at the facility: the diagnosis of rotavirus, invasive meningitis, malaria, antibiotic resistance, diphtheria and salmonellosis. The Center has an international ISO accreditation for the clinical laboratory research.

Laboratory capabilities of the Lugar Center are also used by the Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture (LMA) and the Eliava Research Institute of Bacteriophage. In addition, the Center’s capabilities are widely used by masters and doctoral students from relevant universities of various countries, including neighboring ones, to conduct scientific research.
Any research or activity at the facilities of the Center are carried out by the relevant experts exceptionally under the coordination and management of the competent Georgian agencies. The American partners have no role in setting the tasks for the Center, moreover they do not possess the possibility to conduct an independent research.
Georgia is fully committed to its international obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, including the requirements and provisions of the Convention on the Management of Biological Laboratories. Within the 7th Review Conference, the Member States have developed a mechanism for transparency and confidence-building – so called peer exercise, which appears to be the only instrument for transparency.


Within such mechanism and in order to ensure the transparency of the Richard Lugar Centre, Georgia hosted an international peer exercise at the facilities of the Centre on November 14-15, 2018. The above-mentioned event was organized jointly by the Georgian and German sides and Security and Bio experts from up to 20 countries were able to participate in this peer exercise. It is worth to mention that the invitation to participate has been also extended to the Russian experts, however a strict refusal of their participation has been received. This very fact clearly proves the ostentatious interest of the RF in operations at the laboratory.

On December 4-7, 2018, a meeting of the Member States of the Biological Weapons Convention took place at the UN Geneva office, where the report on the functioning of the Lugar Centre drafted by international experts gained a full approval and support.

Despite the above-mentioned, the Russian Foreign Ministry challenges the findings of the leading experts after their visit at the facility. Furthermore, based on the fake disinformation of suspicious “experts”, false allegations are widely spread specially in the Russian media sources thus clearly underlying incompetence and aggressive nature of their arguments.

As for the provision of the comment by the Information Department of the Russian MFA regarding the possible visit of the Russian experts to the Lugar Centre, it is noteworthy to mention that Georgia, as a responsible Member State of the Convention on Prohibition of Biological Weapons, is and always has been ready, to host competent Russian experts, who holds the relevant level security permission to access the facilities of the laboratory. However, such visits might be conducted within the framework of the Convention and in full compliance with the existing mechanism. There was such possibility in 2018, although Georgia is open to discuss the modalities of the peer exercise/visit with Member-States upon new initiative. At the same time, Georgia does not see the possibility for one-side unilateral visit taking into account Russia's rough and aggressive disinformation campaign with the only possible aim to diminish the functioning and researches at the facilities of the Lugar Centre.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the international community, primarily on the Member States of the Biological Weapons Convention, to assess the aggressive statements of the Russian Governmental Agencies toward Georgia; to condemn clear disinformation and to oppose the attempts to undermine the successful functioning of the institution exponential for the whole region. Despite the fact that Georgia does not have any bilateral legal commitment to the RF on the transparency of the Centre, the Georgian side expresses its readiness to host next peer exercise within the frame of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons with participation of multinational team, including relevant Russian experts.
 

Georgia reports 707 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 456 patients recovered

Published in Health
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:30

Georgia reported five new cases of COVID-19 today bringing the total number of infected people to 707.

The date has recently been updated on a special web page stopcov.ge created by the Georgian government.

The number of recovered persons is 456. Twelve patients died. Three persons are brought from abroad for medical treatment. There are 3914 people in quarantine, 340 – inpatient care.

Georgia reported 195 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Published in Health
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 14:09

The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) increased up to 195 in Georgia.

The information was recently updated on a special website stopcov.ge created by the Georgian government.

Also, according to the official data, 39 patients have fully recovered from the virus. Two people died of COVID-19 in the country.

There are 4735 people under quarantine and 383 – in inpatient care.

 

Georgia confirms 9 cases of COVID-19

Published in Health
Friday, 06 March 2020 08:16

Georgia has confirmed nine cases of the novel coronavirus /COVID-19/, a website – stopcov.ge reports. Georgian government has created this website to inform the public about the coronavirus.

162 individuals are under quarantine in Georgia currently, while 45 others are in hospitals, under the observation.

Head of the National Disease Control Centre Amiran Gamkrelidze stated that those five individuals travelled to Italy with the man who had tested positive for the novel virus.

Amiran Gamkrelidze noted that 25 people who had contact with this man were examined. Only five of them tested positive for the COVID-19.

Those five individuals were hospitalised in Tbilisi infectious hospital.

 

Georgian CSOs to promote free trade with EU in rural areas

Published in Economics
Thursday, 08 June 2017 09:33

A new project in support of economic development in rural areas in Georgia was launched on 2 June. The EU-funded 'Regional Civil Society Organisations as Vectors of Rural Economic Development' project aims at promoting the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in the seven rural regions of Georgia. The project will strengthen the capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs) so that they can help regional small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as individual agricultural producers, to seize the opportunities opened by the DCFTA.

The CSOs showed interest in the various trainings planned in the regions which will enhance their skills and knowledge about DCFTA-related aspects, advocacy techniques and value chain research. This will help regional producers to identify local products that have potential to enter European markets.

Within the project, CSOs will establish information and resource desks in rural areas of the regions of Imereti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Adjara and Kvemo-Kartli.

The project is part of the EU’s assistance to the Georgian government in implementing the DCFTA, facilitating Georgia's integration into the EU market. The EU support focuses on strengthening the capacities of Georgian small and medium-sized enterprises and ensuring the economic integration of internally displaced persons, returned migrants, women in business and young entrepreneurs.

Loan Larization Scheme to Launch on September 17

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 14:56

A single-use scheme for loan larization (de-dollarization of national currency), which has been developed by the Georgian Government in cooperation with the National Bank, will be launched on January 17, 2017, while the details of this plan will be approved by the Government at today's meeting.

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili instructed the Minister of Finances to provide a detailed explanation of this process and relevant procedures after today's meeting of the Government, to provide answers to all possible questions that may arise.

"This is the right process seeking gradually to decrease the dependence of our population and the financial sector on the dollar, and we believe that this project will prove a success," the Prime Minister stated.

We want to help Georgian Government to create independent court-Ian Kelly

Published in Politics
Monday, 05 December 2016 14:45

The exclusive interview of Ian Kelly the US Ambassador to Georgia in the special project of Starvision “Border Zone”/ ‘Пограничная ZONA’: «We want to help Georgian Government to create independent court. There is a past traces in the judicial system mentality».
Watch at Starvision and listen to Radio Star FM the full version of the interview today, at 21:30 p.m. “Border Zone”/ ‘Пограничная ZONA’

European Court accepts the Georgian Government's request to forward the case of Merabishvili v. Georgia to the Grand Chamber

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:58

European Court accepts the Georgian Government's request to forward the case of Merabishvili v. Georgia to the Grand Chamber:
Dear colleagues,
Although this has already been covered in Georgia, I have decided to share with you today’s press release of the European Court of Human Rights specifying that on Monday, 17 October 2016, the panel of five judges decided to refer two cases to the Grand Chamber consisting of 17 judges.
One of the two cases is Merabishvili v. Georgia (application no. 72508/13) which concerns the pre-trial detention of a former Prime Minister of Georgia.
Merabishvili v. Georgia (application no. 72508/13)
The applicant, Ivane Merabishvili, is a Georgian national who was born in 1968 and is currently detained in a prison in Tbilisi pending criminal proceedings against him for a number of offences including vote-buying and misappropriation of property.
Prior to the parliamentary elections of October 2012, which resulted in a change of power, Mr Merabishvili, one of the leaders of the then ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM), exercised, for several months in 2012, the function of Prime Minister of Georgia. After the political coalition Georgian Dream had won the parliamentary election of October 2012 and formed a new government, Mr Merabishvili was elected Secretary General of the UNM, which became the major opposition force in the country.
Mr Merabishvili was arrested on 21 May 2013 following the institution against him of three sets of criminal proceedings for using an allegedly fake passport, embezzlement and abuse of authority. On 22 May 2013 an initial court decision, based on Article 205 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, was taken remanding Mr Merabishvili in custody on the grounds that there was a risk that he might abscond or interfere with the investigation. This decision was confirmed on appeal on 25 May 2013.
Subsequently, during a pre-trial session on 25 September 2013, he asked for his pre-trial detention to be replaced by a non-custodial measure of restraint. This request was examined and rejected on the same day, without explanation, in a brief statement given by the trial court judge.
Mr Merabishvili was convicted in February 2014 of the majority of the charges against him, including vote-buying, misappropriation of property and breach of the inviolability of another person’s home and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The charge of abuse of authority was dismissed. Mr Merabishvili’s appeal on points of law is currently still pending before the Supreme Court.  
Four additional sets of criminal proceedings for various offences involving abuse of official authority when he was Minister of the Interior between 2005 and 2012, launched against him between May 2013 and July 2014, are also currently pending against him.
Relying on Article 5 §§ 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / entitlement to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial / right to have lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Merabishvili alleges that the decisions of 22 and 25 May 2013 ordering his pre-trial detention were based on unclear legal rules – notably in that they did not given a specific time-limit for his detention – and lacked reasonable grounds and that the courts failed to carry out a proper judicial review of his request for release in its decision of 25 September 2013.
Further relying on Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) taken in conjunction with Article 5 § 1, he alleges that the initiation of criminal proceedings against him and his arrest were used by the authorities to exclude him from the political life of the country, resulting in the weakening of his party, UNM, and preventing him from standing as a candidate in the presidential election of October 2013. He further alleges that that persecution continued during his pre-trial detention when, on 14 December 2013, he was removed from his cell and taken for a late-night meeting with the Chief Public Prosecutor and the head of the prison authority who had threatened him in order to obtain information about the death of the former Prime Minister, Zurab Zhvania, and about secret offshore bank accounts of the former President of Georgia. He further claims that, despite having informed the authorities of that incident at the first opportunity at a hearing on his case on 17 December 2013, calling upon them to examine video footage from the prison surveillance cameras, no objective or thorough criminal investigation was ever launched into his allegations.
Lastly, he emphasises that the international community expressed concerns over the initiation of criminal proceedings against the leaders of the opposition party, including himself.
In its Chamber judgment of 14 June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been no violation of Article 5 §§ 1 and 3 (right to liberty and security / entitlement to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights as concerned the lawfulness of and grounds for the court decisions of 22 and 25 May 2013 ordering Mr Merabishvili’s pre-trial detention. It further held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 3 as concerned the court decision of 25 September 2013 reviewing Mr Merabishvili’s pre-trial detention. Lastly, the Chamber found, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) taken in conjunction with Article 5 § 1 on account of the fact that Mr Merabishvili’s pre-trial detention had also been used by the prosecuting authorities as an opportunity to obtain leverage in another unrelated investigation, namely into the death of the former Prime Minister, Zurab Zhvania, and to conduct an enquiry into the financial activities of the former President of Georgia.
On 17 October 2016 the Grand Chamber Panel accepted the Georgian Government’s request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber.

UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination to review Georgia

Published in World
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 15:57

GENEVA (27 April 2016) – Georgia’s record on tackling racial discrimination will face scrutiny by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on 2 and 3 May in meetings that will be webcast live. Georgia is one of the 177 States that have ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and so is subject to regular review by the Committee of 18 international independent experts.

Among the possible issues for discussion between CERD members and a delegation from the Georgian Government are:
•Prohibition of organizations that promote and incite racial discrimination;
•Demographic data on the ethnic composition of the population;
•Situation of ethno-religious minorities, alleged increase of intolerant discourse and discriminatory acts against them;
•Situation of Roma;
•Situation of stateless persons, measures to facilitate their access to free legal aid and representation to obtain citizenship:
•Updated information on situation of people deported by USSR in 1944.

The review will take place on 2 May from 15:00 – 18:00 (17:00 – 20:00 in Tblisi) and on 3 May from 10:00 – 13:00 (12:00 – 15:00) at Palais Wilson in Geneva, and will be webcast at www.treatybodywebcast.org. The Committee will also hear from other UN entities and NGOs. More information here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=977&Lang=en

The Committee will publish its findings on Georgia and the other countries being reviewed – Spain, Oman, Rwanda, Azerbaijan and Namibia - on 13 May here:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1072&Lang=en

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact Liz Throssell - +41 22 917 9466 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background
Members of CERD are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information on the Committee: http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cerd/pages/cerdindex.aspx

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 1965. More information on the Convention’s 50th anniversary here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CERD/50/Pages/Icerd50.aspx

For your news websites and social media: Multimedia content & key messages relating to our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles:
Twitter: @UNHumanRights
Facebook: unitednationshumanrights
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