NGOs respond to Constitutional Court ruling - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

NGOs respond to Constitutional Court ruling

21 September, 2015


On September 16, 2015 the Constitutional Court of Georgia announced its ruling on the Giorgi Ugulava case. The signatory organizations consider it appropriate to respond to recent developments related to this case.

Over the last two days we have witnessed completely contradictory accounts on the involvement of Merab Turava, a Constitutional Court judge involved in court proceedings related to the Giorgi Ugulava case. Initially, the Constitutional Court planned to announce its decision on September 15, 2015, but had to delay the announcement after Merab Turava failed to show up to sign the ruling, citing health problems. The court explained that it was not authorized to announce the ruling without signatures of all judges involved in the case. This was followed by Turava’s vague and unconvincing explanations related to his absence. Finally, on September 16, 2015, the court decided to announce its decision after Turava officially refused to give his signature.

All judges of the Constitutional Court are obligated under the law to take part in court proceedings and sign decisions regardless of their personal opinion on individual cases. The Constitutional Court, on its part, needs to plan court proceedings in a way that enables judges to properly fulfill this obligation. Recent events around the Giorgi Ugulava case have given rise to questions in this regard, since a Constitutional Court judge was unable to convincingly explain the reasons for failing to fulfill his obligations.

According to Georgian law, a Constitutional Court ruling is achieved by a majority vote of its judges. All participant judges must sign the decision prior to its announcement regardless of their personal opinion on the case. In this particular case, the first part of this legal requirement has been correctly observed.

It should be stated unequivocally that the purpose of a Constitutional Court ruling is to determine the consistency of a legal norm with the Constitution. It is not meant to simply resolve specific criminal cases. Moreover, a Constitutional Court ruling is never directed at a specific person, e.g. the author of the constitutional court case, but rather equally applies to all persons in an identical situation. Therefore, the execution of this particular ruling in relation to a specific individual is only possible through a separate decision made by a common court. According to existing legislation, preventive measures can be revoked upon the motion of the defendant or the initiative of the court. The law does not recognize any other procedures for revoking preventive measures.

In conclusion, we would like to state that the recent events around the Constitutional Court damage the interests of justice and diminish public trust in this institution and its judges. In order to ensure the independence and positive reputation of the Constitutional Court, it is essential for all state institutions to acknowledge its importance and role for the country's legal stability. Also, in order to ensure a proper and transparent functioning of the Constitutional Court, it is important to regulate its decision-making procedures more clearly and systematically. Finally, the Constitutional Court and its judges must work towards establishing a work environment free from political and other improper influences.


Georgian Young Lawyers' Association

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

Transparency International Georgia

Open Society Georgia Foundation

Georgia's Reforms Associates (GRASS)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)


Civil Development Agency (CiDA)

Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)