Statement regarding the April 11 incident by the Constitutional Court
A group of people dissatisfied with the decision of the Constitutional Court of Georgia organized a protest rally on April 11, 2014, during which expressions and actions insulting the Court were reported. Even though freedom of expression is a fundamental principle on which a democratic society stands, securing independence of the judiciary is a legitimate purpose, for which freedom of expression may be restricted.
Further, the Constitution of Georgia expressly stipulates that acts issued by courts are legally binding for all natural persons and legal entities. A decision of the Constitutional Court, a body that exercises constitutional control, plays a special role among judicial acts.
By its April 11 decision, the Constitutional Court of Georgia has granted a constitutional lawsuit against the Parliament, in which the plaintiffs – current members of the Board of Trustees of the LEPL Public Broadcaster – disputed the constitutionality of a norm included in the Amendments to the Law on Broadcasting, which provided for early termination of powers of the Public Broadcaster’s Board of Trustees. The Constitutional Court ruled the disputed norm to be unconstitutional, stating that the limitation it introduced was disproportionally restricting the right of plaintiffs guaranteed by Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia.
As for the substance of the Court’s decision, it is in full accord with the positions expressed by several NGOs at various stages of examination of legislative amendments, and is in compliance with international practice.
We find the expressions and actions reported on 11 April 2014 against members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia to be unacceptable. The decision of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal. Therefore, each citizen of Georgia is obligated to respect the decision and the Court’s independence. We call on the Government of Georgia to publicly condemn such actions, which would serve as a clear prevention of similar aggression.