European Court of Human Rights: Georgian authorities showed “degree of tolerance” to November 2019 demonstration protesters

  • In its ruling the court said “ensuring the effective functioning of Parliament is a value of key importance for a democratic society”. Photo: Reuters

Agenda.ge, 22 Sep 2022 - 12:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday ruled that the Georgian authorities had shown “a degree of tolerance” towards participants of the demonstration dispersed in November 2019 outside the parliament building in capital Tbilisi.

The ruling comes in cases submitted to the ECHR by Georgian social activists Giga Makarashvili, Zuka Berdzenishvili and Irakli Kacharava in 2020, with the three detained during the dispersal of the rally on November 18 of the preceding year that protested the legislative body’s rejection of the ruling party-proposed bill on changing the election system to proportional vote for the next elections in the country.

The three members of the civic movement Shame were among 10 individuals detained at the protest for disobedience to police and hooliganism and spent 12, four and seven days in prison respectively.

The Court does not consider that the authorities failed to show a degree of tolerance towards the gathering. Additionally, had the applicants [Makarashvili and Berdzenishvili] obeyed the order to clear the road leading to the Parliament, nothing would have prevented them from continuing with the protest”, the ruling said.

In its ruling the court said “ensuring the effective functioning of Parliament is a value of key importance for a democratic society”.

The complete obstruction of the entrances to the Parliament’s building and later of the police efforts to reopen those entrances, in blatant disregard of the domestic legislation, multiple warnings given to them, and of the needs and rights of the democratically elected members of Parliament to discharge their functions which are essential in any democratic society can be described as “reprehensible” conduct”, it also noted.

In the case of Kacharava, the court ruled the available domestic material had not demonstrated that he was among organisers of the demonstration, or had personally blocked either the entrances to the parliament building or police’s attempts of clearing the areas. Kacharava has been awarded €1,600 in respect of non‑pecuniary damage.

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