ECHR suspends Supreme Court’s decision on Rustavi 2 case until March 8

Today the Court of Appeals of Georgia delivered its verdict about the ownership of Rustavi 2 private broadcaster. Photo by Rustavi 2., 04 Mar 2017 - 12:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has temporarily suspended the enforcement of the March 2 verdict of the Georgian Supreme Court regarding the ownership of broadcasting company Rustavi 2.

Rustavi 2 appealed to the ECHR and requested an interim measure to suspend the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday.

Rustavi 2 received a ruling from the ECHR later the same day, suspending the verdict until March 8.

"On March 3, 2017 the court (the duty judge) decided … to indicate to the Government of Georgia, under Rule 39, that the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision of 2 March 2017 should be suspended and that the authorities should abstain from interfering with the applicant company’s editorial policy in any manner”, the ECHR letter said.

It added that this interim measure is granted temporarily, until March 8 of 2017.

Shortly after the ECHR’s decision, Georgian Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani announced that the government had received a notification from the ECHR, indicating Rustavi 2’s request and that the Government of Georgia had been named as a respondent party.

Tsulukiani said that the government will be represented by the Ministry of Justice at the court.

"The judge on duty made the decision to ban the government from taking any measure that would cause changes in the editorial policy [of Rustavi 2] not until the end of the review of the case, but until March 8”, Tsulukiani said.

She added that by March 8, the ECHR will gather to decide on further action: whether to apply precedents of freedom of expression, to extend the interim measure or to uphold the decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

She added that the Georgian government will abide by its commitments to the European Court of Human Rights.