Posts by Alexander Baramidze:

Opinion

Seizures without Prosecution

by | Jul 30

One of the blatant illegalities that the Georgian authorities have repeatedly committed in the last few months is that they seize one’s property without bringing charges against the owner of such property or any other person with whom the owner may somehow

Opinion

Global TV: Freedom of Speech under Attack

by | May 28

Global TV is a cable operator that provides services to its subscribers in Tbilisi and some other regions of Georgia. The company also owns a satellite broadcasting license which allows it to broadcast its signal by way of satellite. Before 2012, Global TV had a

Opinion

The Truth about Denial of Citizenship

by | Apr 9

A couple of days ago the Government of Georgia denied the Georgian billionaire Bizdina Ivanishvili the Georgian citizenship for which Mr. Ivanishvili, a child of Georgian parents, one who was born, grown up and educated in Georgia, applied in early January 2012.

Opinion

Sham Justice: Chamber of Control’s treatment of Georgian Dream

by | Jan 31

A couple of days ago, Georgian Dream, a civil society agency established by the Georgian billionaire, Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili, got notice from the Georgia Chamber of Control where the said government agency warned Georgian Dream to refund a total of GEL 1.1 million to Elita Burji Ltd. The failure to implement the Chamber of Control demand would result in the forfeiture of GEL 1.1 by Georgian Dream, writes Alexander Baramidze, lawyer for Georgian Dream. Back in December 2011, Georgian Dream entered into a contract with Elita Burji whereby the latter undertook to manufacture some furniture for the former. The contract price was set at GEL 2 million, which money was paid by Georgian Dream to Elita Burji in advance. Later on, it turned out that Elita Burji was able to perform its obligations under the contract just within the limits of GEL 0.9 million. Naturally, Georgian Dream requested the rest of money – GEL 1.1 million – back which request was fulfilled without any delay. What can be unlawful or even unusual in this story? The Chamber of Control claims that Georgian ...

Opinion

Welcome Back to the USSR!

by | Dec 29

Yesterday Parliament of Georgia passed a law which in fact outlaws political activity. Furthermore, to a degree it even outlaws political thinking. The law amends the Organic Law on Political Associations of Citizens, the statute which once controlled political parties as such. Hereinafter it is going to control non-political, non-for-profit or business organizations too and, strangely enough, even individuals. Apparently, the intention of the national legislature, in which the constitutional majority of seats are held by the President-Saakashvili-led political party, the National Movement, is to block financial sources for political parties and also for any individual or entity that may be “directly or indirectly associated with political parties”. The timing for adopting such a law now is easily explainable: (a) general elections are to be held next year; and (b) after almost three years of the ruling party’s domination and almost no opposition activity, there appeared a wealthy person who said he was going to fund some parties in opposition and to set up one of his own. There was a need to tie him up. But what does it mean to ...

Opinion

Impartiality and Georgian Courts

by | Dec 15

Almost a century ago an English judge, Lord Chief Justice Hewart, pronounced his famous aphorism: “… it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance, that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” (R v Sussex Justices; Ex parte McCarthy [1924]). Since then these words have become a symbol of impartial judgeship.  The key to impartiality is judge’s detachment in the course of hearing the case.  It is only at the end of session, when he/she leaves for his/her chambers to make a judgment, that he/she should start weighing up the evidence and arguments presented to him/her by the parties.   Any opinion that a judge may express concerning the case in question or even any behavior that may indicate that such an opinion has already been developed while the case is pending will be understood as a violation of the principle of impartiality. Here is another powerful quotation from the Anglo-American legal tradition that reinforces this principle: “The Due Process Clause entitles a person to an impartial and disinterested tribunal in ...

Opinion

State of the Judiciary in Georgia

by | Oct 21

The quality and degree of democracy and freedom in a state, among some other factors, depends on the level of judicial independence. The principle that the judiciary must be independent from both legislative and executive branches of government is built in a constitutional idea of the separation of powers. Furthermore, judicial independence is one of the key components of a basic human right to a fair trial guaranteed by the international human rights instruments, including Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights to which Georgia is a party. Independence gives rise to confidence. As the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has put it “it is of fundamental importance in a democratic society that the courts inspire confidence in the public and above all, as far as criminal proceedings are concerned, in the accused”. Despite some progress over the recent years, the judicial system is one of the least trusted by the public among public institutions. According to the International Republican Institute (IRI) surveys, although over the last two years the percentage of those that have expressed ...

Opinion

Disenfranchisement of a Georgian Tycoon: Was It Lawful?

by | Oct 12

In just a couple of days after Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian billionaire known internationally as Boris Ivanishvili, had announced his plans to establish his own political party, to run for the parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013, to win decisively both elections, and to set up a new one-party government, the Georgian authorities claimed that Mr. Ivanishvili forfeited his Georgian citizenship. If the government's claim gets through what it will mean for the richest man in this country and number 185 in the world according to the Forbes rankings is that he will not be eligible either for running for elections or for setting up a political party.  But how could it happen that the owner of a huge property worth of US $5.5 billion lost franchise overnight?  Was the government's decision lawful or arbitrary one? We will try to answer these questions by analyzing relevant provisions of the Georgian Constitution and the law on citizenship, as well as the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights to which Georgia is a party. What we will start ...

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