The Bassiani incident shows flaws in the system of justice
We would like to respond to the events that unfolded around the incident which took place outside the Bassiani club and say that this case raises certain questions with regard to the work of the court. The events have once again demonstrated that the system of justice is facing serious challenges in terms of its impartiality and independence.
According to the reports, on 13 January, on the territory adjacent to the Bassiani club, a confrontation occurred between the staff of the club and Tamaz Kvlividze. As a result, two employees of the club and the deputy chief of the Fourth Bureau of the Didube-Chughureti Directorate of Internal Affairs were injured.
The administration of justice concerning this case so far has raised many questions among the public.
Tbilisi City Court Judge Badri Shonia set bail in the amount of GEL 30,000 as a measure of pre-trial restraint for the defendant accused of injuring two persons and resisting the police. For reference, Badri Shonia is the same judge who remanded in custody the members of the band Birzha Mafia accused of committing a drug-related crime. Judge Badri Shonia’s decision raised legitimate questions as to what caused a more lenient approach to a crime which represented a greater threat to the public, such as the incident that happened outside the Bassiani club. It is also interesting what made the judge rule out at a given moment a possibility of the crime being repeated once the defendant was released and what was the basis for choosing bail as a measure of pre-trial restraint.
It is noteworthy that the decision to set bail made by the court of first instance caused a strong public protest. After that, Tbilisi Court of Appeals upheld the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to replace the bail with imprisonment.
What made the suspicions that the case was not treated impartially especially strong was the fact that, according to various reports, the defendant was a member of a “privileged family” and, in the country with an unhealthy system of justice, this creates a possibility that a case would not be tried objectively. In addition, there is information that a political official could be involved in the case.
In order to dispel the questions that have appeared among the public regarding selective justice and political officials’ interference in the system of justice, the case must be investigated fully, objectively and quickly. In turn, the undersigned organizations will continue monitoring the hearing of the case in court.
Transparency International Georgia
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
Georgian Democracy Initiative
Civil Development Agency
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy