The current dangerous situation following the Melia ruling stems from decades-long problems with the electoral system and the judicial system.
It is imperative the authorities and opposition exercise maximum restraint this morning. The way to address the important issues at stake is through peaceful negotiation.
We urge all involved to remain calm and avoid violence.
The Public Defender of Georgia calls on the Parliament of Georgia not to consent to the use of pre-trial detention against Nikanor Melia. We also call on the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia to use the opportunities at its disposal and reconsider the decision on application of measures of restraint.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, in order to apply a measure of restraint, it is necessary to properly substantiate its objectives and grounds. In particular, the Prosecutor’s Office must prove that a particular form of a measure of restraint is necessary, as the defendant may avoid attending the trial, hide, destroy information relevant to the case, or committ a new crime.
Violation of the measure of restraint should not be an automatic ground for ordering detention or any other strict measure. When considering the application of pre-trial detention for Nikanor Melia, the main subject of assessment should be - whether there is a need today to restrict the conduct of the defendant and whether this restriction serves the interests of justice; Moreover, more than 18 months have passed since the launch of criminal proceedings against the defendant, the investigation phase has already been completed and the case is currently being considered on its merits.
Considering that only three police officers were charged (non-custodial measures were used) with the use of excessive force against dozens of citizens and journalists during the June 20 events - the arrest of the leader of the opposition political party without proper justification of the procedural need, will be a big blow to the Georgian justice system, making it look like the practices common in non-democratic countries. And this type of international image will significantly slow down the process of western development of the country, which, along with many other benefits, implies the fundamental protection of human rights.
In view of the above, we call on the Members of Parliament to discuss and properly assess the need and necessity for the use of a measure of restraint against Nikanor Melia. At the same time, criminal prosecution and detention of leaders of opposition parties only harms the democratic image of the country and the trust in the democratic institutions of the state.
The United Nations family in Georgia expresses dismay at the recent suicide of a teenage girl from Kobuleti, extends its deepest condolences to the family and calls for a thorough investigation of the circumstances that led to her death.
This tragedy points to persistent stigma around rape, sexual violence and exploitation and gender inequality in Georgia, shortcomings on the part of the child protection system, along with gaps in psycho-social assessment, provision of support services and child-friendly justice for children in contact with the law.
Wherever lapses are documented, we call for a dedicated effort at improvements, whether in legislation on sexual violence, law enforcement practices, social welfare protection, child protection referral procedures or child-friendly judicial processes.
In the justice system, specialized professionals should be assigned to work on child and sexual violence cases. We also recommend creation of an integrated service for child victims of sexual violence that provides a child-friendly justice process and child psycho-social rehabilitation in one space.
Social norms and attitudes that condone sexual violence against women and girls and blame the victims or prevent professionals from reporting on the cases of violence also need to be confronted.
Immediate and energetic measures are necessary to avoid a repetition of this tragedy and to ensure that the fundamental human rights of women and girls are fully respected at all times and in all situations and that women and girls are equipped with the right knowledge and skills and they are empowered to make decisions about their present and future.
The UN in Georgia stands in solidarity and remains committed to work with the Georgian government, civil society groups, and with the human rights activists to address systemic problems that contribute to such tragedies.
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 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of GeorgiaFriday, 27 November 2020 10:18
Approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia represents another illegal step towards de-facto annexation that envisages gradual integration of Georgia’s indivisible regions into Russia’s military, political, economic and social systems.
The so-called “treaty on alliance and strategic partnership” concluded between the Russian Federation and its occupation regime in Sokhumi in November 2014 as well as all subsequent so-called “agreements”, “memoranda” or “programmes” are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. Through such provocative steps and hybrid warfare instruments, the Russian Federation blatantly violates the fundamental norms and principles of international law, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and poses a serious threat to peace and security on the European continent.
We call upon the Russian Federation to cease its destructive actions and illegal steps directed towards de-facto annexation of Georgia’s occupied territories, implement its obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory and not to impede creation of international security mechanisms on the ground.
Today, the US Justice Department indicted 6 GRU military unit # 74455 actors for their roles in several cyber incidents, including those carried out against Georgia. We welcome the efforts of our US partners to bring to justice those responsible for the reckless cyber attacks.
Government of Georgia is grateful for the contributions by the United States and our friends and allies to strengthen Georgia’s cyber defense capabilities and resilience. International community’s united stance is vital in condemning and confronting the threats posed by Russia to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, its stability, institutions and democratic development.
Regrettably, the media is still continuing to speculate about the possible military cargo flights through the airspace of Georgia.
It is well-known that Georgia has closed its airspace for military flights, on which we have repeatedly stated publicly. As far as civil and humanitarian flights are concerned, Georgia remains fully in line with its international obligations in this regard. In view of this, we would like to clarify that no special permit is required for such flights and civil flights are carried out based on respective notifications and information. Hence, according to the documents and information available to Georgia, all flights operated in Georgian airspace fully conform to international norms and ICAO standards.
To ensure secure air services and prevent the use of civil flights for other purposes, we call on all countries, both shippers and receivers of cargoes, to exercise strict control over the air carriages involving civil and humanitarian cargoes. It is the primary responsibility of the shipping countries to ensure that civil flights are operated in compliance with the standards and principles of the Chicago Convention, which bans the deliberate use of civil aviation for military purposes.
Georgia will strictly react to any violation detected or sufficient evidence thereof, and violators will be held liable under international law.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on disruption of the 51st round of the Geneva International Discussions scheduled on 6-7 October, 2020Wednesday, 07 October 2020 13:59
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its concern over the disruption of the 51st Round of the Geneva International Discussions by representatives of the Russian Federation. It is noteworthy that considering the aggravated security and humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories, according to the decision by the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, the 51st Round was planned and agreed to be held on 6-7 October this year in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such kind of steps are undermining the entire peace process, and impede the Georgian Government’s and international community’s efforts to solve the problems of the conflict effected population.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the Russian Federation to return to the negotiations, and fulfil its international obligations, including the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeals to the international organisations co-chairing the Geneva International Discussions – the EU, UN and OSCE to take affective measures in order to ensure the resumption of the negotiations within the Geneva format and facilitate achieving tangible progress in the process of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict.
As a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the civilian population was killed, and the civilian infrastructure was damaged. The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia spreads information about the conflict.
"The armed forces of Armenia have been continuing to target the civilian population, private houses and other civilian infrastructure in residential areas along the line of contact in a gross violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Civilian facilities, such as hospitals, medical centers, school buildings, and kindergartens, have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling of Armenia's armed forces, including from artillery and other large-caliber weaponry. Electricity and energy infrastructure got damaged in residential areas. Armed units of Armenia targeted gas lines in the Borsunlu and Hulabandi villages and several neighborhoods in the Tartar district's administrative center.
On September 29, a mortar attack hit a medical facility in Garadaghli village of Aghdam. As a result, one civilian died. As of September 29, 12 civilians, including two children and two elderly, were killed, with 35 civilians hospitalized. Sixty-six private houses and eight private properties were damaged. Below is photo evidence of the humanitarian law violations of the armed forces of Armenia. Private properties of the residents of Azadgaragoyunlu village of the Tartar district were seriously damaged," reads the statement.
Another military confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia has created a grave situation. There are heavy casualties and, unfortunately, the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of dialogue has not been possible thus far.
We all understand that further escalation of the situation will have an extremely negative impact on the security of the entire region. We once again call on the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and international actors to make the most of the available opportunities to end the escalation and resume dialogue. As you know, our country has good neighborly relations with both countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Historically, our Azerbaijani and Armenian citizens living in Georgia have always played a great role in the development and strengthening of our country, as well as the entire region. At the same time, their peaceful coexistence is a good example demonstrating that Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis have the potential to turn the entire South Caucasus into an area of peace and development.
It is our common interest for peace to be established in the region as quickly as possible. Georgia is ready to facilitate this process in any way, including by hosting a meeting of representatives of the sides of the conflict in Tbilisi for the purpose of holding a dialogue.
Press Service of the Government Administration