Appeal of Human Rights Center regarding the Problems related to the Initiation of Amnesty Law

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HRC welcomes the mediation process led by EU high representatives that was  successfully finalized having the utmost significance for the democratic development of our country as well as for the consolidation of the EU role in the process of peaceful resolution of different kinds of conflicts. Moreover, the active participation of the US in this process is especially important being critical  for advancement of Georgia

HRC once again calls on all the actors involved in the mediation process to sign the compromise agreement  delivered by the European Council and carry out its implementation with unwavering commitment to the Constitution of Georgia and international standards.

The document titled “A Way Ahead for Georgia" envisages as one of the subject matters  the reaction to  the issues of perceived  politicized justice. During the last years, HRC constantly referred to the signs of selective justice existing in the country. HRC in 2020 prepared 6 analytical documents, 2 interim and 2 summary reports regarding the issues with high public interest where the alleged signs of criminal prosecution led by political motives existed; among these documents were high profile criminal cases of Giorgi Rurua and Nikanor Melia, participants of protest demonstration of June 20-21, 2019.   

In accordance with the Agreement Instrument, “the  signatories  commit  to  address, within  one  week  of  signing this  agreement, the  two cases of perceived politicized justice, either by an amnesty and/or by taking such steps as to  produce an equivalent outcome. In  particular,  within  one  week  of  signature  of  the agreement,  a  party  represented  in  Parliament  shall  initiate  an  amnesty  law  for  all violations and convictions stemming from the 19-21 June 2019 protests.”

HRC welcomes mentioning of politicized justice in the final document, which in the case of finalizing the court reform as envisaged by the same document, would increase a confidence of the citizens to the state structures and minimize future risks of selective justice. 

Moreover, HRC continues defending  the interests of the journalists affected during the disperse  of protest demonstration of June 20-21, on national level as well as at the European Court of Human Rights.  

Disproportional forces and methods used by the police during the disperse of the peaceful demonstration on June 20-21, 2019, caused a massive violation of the rights of the protesters. According to the assessment by HRC, the use of disproportional and excessive  police forces when dispersing  the wide-scale protest demonstration, left the just impression of punishing the protesters. Because of using disproportional forces for dispersing  the demonstration, the facts of ill treatment on the part of law enforcement officers when arresting  the protesters   and in the following periods,  illegal interference with  journalistic activities and inefficient investigation of the cases we may deal with the violation of prohibition of torture under Article 3 of the European Convention both in terms of substantive and procedural rights.  

Envisaging the spirit of the European Convention and the established practice of  the European Court that is endorsed by almost every  international human rights organization or instrument, it is inadmissible to apply amnesty against the persons who have committed offenses of inhuman or degrading character. Further, the fact, whether  the investigation is carried out with correct subsumption at the national level, is not relevant for the purposes of Article 3 of the Convention.  Moreover, beside the fact, that during the disperse of June 20-21 demonstration, the investigation  against the arrested law enforcement officers was not carried out under the proper subsumption , namely under Article 144(3) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, the acts committed  by the officers have to be assessed as inhuman and degrading acts eliminating the possibility of using amnesty against the mentioned persons according to the binding standards established by the European Court.

HRC calls on the government of Georgia and all the political parties involved in this process, not to allow adoption of the Law on Amnesty in the form covering the crimes committed on the part of law enforcement officers while dispersing  the demonstration of June 20-21, 2019, notwithstanding the subsumption applied  to these acts on the national level.   

Human Rights Center