Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Giorgi Papuashvili, said that the law enforcement agencies are turning a blind eye on multiple cases of “unlawful conduct” against the Court, which poses threat to its proper functioning.
In a written appeal to President Giorgi Margvelashvili; PM Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, Papuashvili complains over failure of the law enforcement agencies to react on protest rallies held outside the Court and private residences of judges during which “intimidating statements and threats” against the Court members were voiced.
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Last month pro-government groups held a series of rallies outside private residences of Constitutional Court chairman in Tbilisi and Batumi, condemning the Constitutional Court’s September 16 decision, which allowed ex-mayor of Tbilisi and UNM opposition party leader to be released from 14-month pre-trial detention. Protesters were calling Papuashvili a “friend” of UNM, some holding posters calling him UNM’s “slave” and accusing the Constitutional Court of taking an “anti-state” decision. Tomatoes and eggs were also thrown at Papuashvili’s home in Batumi.
In his appeal, which was released on October 21, Papuashvili also recalls several other similar rallies held outside the Constitutional Court in Batumi earlier this year and last year during which, Papuashvili said, intimidating and threatening statements were made towards him, his family members, and the Court.
“Such acts endanger the safety of judges of the Constitutional Court and their family members,” Papuashvili says in the letter, adding that such “unlawful activities” have recently become “even more organized, coordinated and permanent.”
Under the Georgian legislation, the holding of a protest outside the residency of a judge is an administrative offense. The Georgian code of administrative offenses says that the “blocking of entrance of a court, holding of manifestation or rally at the home of a judge or in common courts will result in an administrative imprisonment for up to 15 days.” Voicing threats against judges is a criminal offense punishable either with fine or with up to three years in jail, according to the Georgian criminal code.
The appeal also says that “the law enforcement authorities have not informed the Court about the results of their activity nor taken actual measures in this regard, which shows their utmost disrespect towards the Constitutional Court as well as a violation of their duty to act as prescribed by law to respond to the unlawful conducts towards the Court.”
“The indifference of the law enforcement authorities and no reaction from high state bodies towards the unlawful conducts against the Constitutional Court of Georgia makes the impression that the state violates its obligation, prescribed by the law, to secure protection of independence of judges, furthermore it prevents the functioning of the Constitutional Court of Georgia in a safe environment and jeopardizes implementation of constitutional justice in Georgia,” reads the Constitutional Court chairman’s appeal.