Exerting pressure on Constitutional Court is unacceptable - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Exerting pressure on Constitutional Court is unacceptable

23 September, 2015


Transparency International Georgia would like to express its opinion about the statement by Giorgi Papuashvili, the chairperson of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, which notes that, following the verdict returned in the case of Giorgi Ugulava, former Mayor of Tbilisi, there have been deliberate attempts to exert pressure on some of the judges of the Court. The statement reads as follows: “After the Plenum of the Constitutional Court announced its unanimous decision on September 16, attempts to exert pressure on judges and their families have intensified. These attempts have included gathering in front of judges’ private residences, blocking the entrances, and making intimidating statements and threats of physical retribution against judges and their family members. Such acts jeopardize the safety of the judges of the Constitutional Court and their family members.”

The Constitutional Court of Georgia is a judicial institution responsible for constitutional control. It has paramount importance in ensuring compliance with the Constitution; the separation of powers and the exercise of power within constitutionally permitted limits; the protection of the human rights and freedoms recognized and safeguarded under the Constitution; and stable governance in the country.

It is unfortunate that politicians made multiple statements to discredit the Court’s decision on Gigi Ugulava’s complaint, which was based on internationally recognized laws and principles. These gestures were followed by protest rallies by organized groups in front of the Court building and the private residences of judges. At times, participants in these rallies behaved aggressively and made insulting statements. Law-enforcement agencies detained one person. Often, such behaviour was encouraged by multiple statements by politicians aiming to discredit the Constitutional Court and its judges.

While the case was still being deliberated in the Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia, state-political officials made statements about the content of the court’s decisions in the case. We believe that such gestures from officials of the ruling coalition party may have been perceived as “instructions” to the judges implying what decision would be acceptable to the majority. In addition, such acts are in gross violation of the principle of presumption of innocence.

We call on politicians to respect the democratic institutions of Georgia and to refrain from making such statements about members of the Constitutional Court and Courts of General Jurisdiction that may jeopardize their impartial and effective functioning, as well as that of the entire judicial system. We also call on law-enforcement agencies to investigate the alleged pressure on judges cited in the statement of the chairperson of the Constitutional Court, and to look into the issue of the responsibility of those involved in these incidents.