Through 22-23 November 2012, the Minister of Justice of Georgia held meetings in the Council of Europe.
The first set of the meetings were held with the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the Registrar of the Court, several judges and the representatives of the Registry dealing with the Georgian cases.
The strategy for the future cooperation between the new Government of Georgia and the Court was the subject matter of the meeting. The Minister introduced the plans that are to be implemented by the Georgian Government for strengthening the protection of human rights on the national level and thus reducing the workload of the Court.
The representatives of the Court informed the Minister that there are approximately 700 pending applications against Georgia, which seem to be well-founded as a result of preliminary examination. It was agreed that the Court, where possible, will communicate to the Government the factual circumstances of the concrete cases under the simplified procedure and will play more active role in helping parties to reach a friendly settlement. Use of unilateral declarations will also be encouraged by the Government. The Minister expressed her hopes that this new approach based on mutual understanding of existing problems would unburden the Court and would, at the same time, avoid that Georgian applicants wait for several years until their cases are examined.
The Minister shared with the Court the new Government's commitment to take all the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures for the protection of human rights on the national level in order to prevent rise of potential applications in the future.
On 23 November 2012 the Minister held a meeting with the representatives of the Department for the Execution of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The problems related to the execution of judgments against Georgia were discussed. The discussion revolved around the cases of Enukidze and Girgvliani, Kiladze brothers and other victims of political repressions, cases of the prisoners with the poor health as well as the victims of ill-treatment.
The Minister stated that the effective management of the procedure regulating execution of the judgments will be the priority for the Government, which presumes implementation of the active individual and general measures on the national level. It was noted that the strategy of the new Government would not be the mere imbursement of the allocated sums under Article 41 of the Convention. The new Government will also take every possible measure in order to internally solve systematic/structural problems revealed by the Court and in this manner to mould State practice for prevention of human rights violations.
The Minister informed the representatives of the Department for the Execution of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights with the action plan adopted by the Government for the execution of the judgment rendered by the Court on the case of Enukidze and Girgvliani and took on the responsibility to submit periodically, before 31 January 2013, additional information to the Committee of the Ministers on the events developed throughout the investigation process of the case. The above plan enunciates that the new Government condemns the approach taken by the previous Government, according to which the judgments of the Court were solely translated into the transfer of monetary compensations to the applicants and did not envisage re-investigation of cases and elimination of violations by all possible means. According to the plan, the new Government is ready to fulfil its obligation under Article 46 of the European Convention and conduct an objective and thorough investigation of the Girgvliani case, implement various measures for the enhancement of the existing legislation and adopt other necessary general measures in order to guarantee effective execution of the judgment.
The meeting also reflected on to the different issues of the cooperation, including the problem of uninvestigated cases and necessity to adopt a new approach with regard to the victims of political repressions.
The Minister held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the Venice Commission and representatives of the Monitoring Committee. Each of these meetings was imbued with mutual yearning for future cooperation and great interest towards the events taking place in Georgia in the aftermath of the parliamentary election.