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Thursday, 09 February , 2023

According to the ECHR, Giorgi Ugulava's Arrest Was Lawful and Had no Political Grounds

Today, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision on the case "Ugulava v. Georgia" and found that the arrest of Giorgi Ugulava in 2014-2015 was not aimed at hindering his political activities.

The applicant disputed the legality of the preventive measure (imprisonment) applied to him within the framework of two criminal cases from July 2014 to September 2015. He also claimed that the only purpose of his imprisonment was to remove him from political scene.

According to today's decision of the Strasbourg Court, the arrest of the applicant in July 2014 was based on a reasonable suspicion of his commission of a crime, which was supported by a number of evidences obtained by the prosecution. The European Court agreed with the reasoning of the national courts to the extent that there were threats from the applicant to obstruct the investigation, influence witnesses and concealment.

The Strasbourg Court also did not share the applicant's contention that he was persecuted on political grounds. In particular, the European Court rejected the applicant's argument that the main motive of the state in the context of the investigation and the use of detention was to withdraw him from political scene. The court clarified that high political status does not mean immunity from criminal liability. The ECHR also emphasized the independence of national courts from the executive power, noting that no evidence had been presented to question the independence of national courts. Accordingly, according to the court's decision, there was no violation of Article 18 (scope of the use of rights restrictions) and the above-mentioned processes did not serve to remove the applicant from the political scene.

With today's decision, the European Court found a violation of the Convention in relation to two episodes, in both cases, the legislation and practice in force before 2015 were the subject of the European Court's criticism.

In particular, regarding the legality of the applicant's arrest, the European Court noted that under the legislation in force in 2015, there was a practice of imposing detention as a preventive measure in separate, parallel or consecutive criminal proceedings under Article 205 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which the Constitutional Court considered on September 15, 2015 inconsistent with the Constitution of Georgia. Accordingly, the European Court shared the findings of the Constitutional Court, and considered that in July 2014, leaving the applicant in custody after 9 months of the initial period of detention constituted a violation of the Convention. The European Court also found that the applicant's continued detention was not properly justified by the national courts.

It should be noted that both issues have been eliminated by the current legislation and practice. In particular, on the basis of the above-mentioned decision of the Constitutional Court, the practice of imprisonment in parallel ongoing criminal cases has been changed. In addition, in the case of prolonged imprisonment, according to the legislation in force today, the need for continued imprisonment is automatically reviewed every two months.

Other News


First Deputy Minister of Justice, Tamar Tkeshelashvili, Meets with Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs, Li Junhua in New York

During a bilateral meeting in New York, First Deputy Minister of Justice Tamar Tkeshelashvili discussed the upcoming event dedicated to UN Public Services Day, set to be held in Tbilisi in 2026. She expressed her gratitude to Deputy Secretary-General Li Junhua and his team for their strong support and cooperation in this initiative.

The discussion highlighted one of the Ministry of Justice's key priorities: creating a human-centered system that ensures the provision of quality and secure services to all citizens.

Tamar Tkeshelashvili also underscored the significance of the 2023-2026 public administration reform strategy and the 2022-2025 public services development strategy. These strategic documents guide Georgia's ongoing development of public services, enhancing innovation and technology efficiency.

It should be the Ministry of Justice of Georgia's services were showcased at the 2024 UN Public Service Awards, highlighting the country's achievements.

The First Deputy Minister emphasized the considerable progress made by the Georgian government in establishing efficient, transparent, inclusive, and accountable state institutions.

At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed on the further development and deepening of cooperation in the direction of state services.

The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, David Bakradze, and Chairperson of the National Public Registry Agency, David Devidze.

At the conclusion of the meeting, both parties agreed to further develop and deepen their cooperation in state services.

The meeting was also attended by Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, David Bakradze and Chairperson of the National Public Registry Agency, David Devidze.