ECHR prolongs suspension of Supreme Court decision on Rustavi 2 case

The March 3 ruling earlier provided for a suspension of the ruling only until March 8. Photo from, 08 Mar 2017 - 12:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has further extended its earlier decision to suspend the enforcement of the March 2 verdict of the Georgian Supreme Court regarding the ownership of broadcasting company Rustavi 2.

Last night, Rustavi 2 Director General Nika Gvaramia released a communication from the ECHR relating that the interim measure passed on March 3 to temporarily suspend the Georgian Supreme Court’s ruling on the case had been extended "until further notice”.

The March 3 ruling earlier provided for a suspension of the ruling only until March 8.

In response, Rustavi 2 appealed to the ECHR once again, requesting the interim measure be prolonged until the ECHR delivers its final verdict on the case. Their appeal was further supported by 25 NGOs from Georgia.

Rustavi 2’s appeal stressed that Rustavi 2 – the country’s most watched TV channel – is "critical to the state”, and if its top managers were to be changed before the final verdict, this could seriously affect Rustavi 2’s editorial policy, posing a threat to media pluralism in Georgia.

Rustavi 2 lawyers are currently working to prepare an appeal to the ECHR, which will point out conceived specific shortcomings in the Supreme Court case. Rustavi 2 must submit its appeal by the end of March.

Following this, the ECHR will begin hearings of the case. It may take months for a verdict to be delivered. Rustavi 2 requests that until this happens, the Government of Georgia - the respondent party – not be able to enforce the ruling of the country’s Supreme Court.