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Young lawyers win suit against secret wiretapping powers

by | Mar 1, 2012

Tamar Khidasheli and Georgian Young Lawyer's Association won a suit against Georgia's parliament, arguing that a section of the law gave prosecutors the right to do secret wiretapping without court approval. The Constitutional Court agreed and found the law unconstitutional. (Photo: Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Constitutional Court has decided that parliament did not have the right to give prosecutors powers to conduct secret wiretappings.

Tamar Khidasheli and Georgian Young Lawyers Association filed a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court regarding the law of Georgia on Operational Investigative Activities, which gave the police extended powers during investigation.

The powers under dispute concern the right for a prosecutor to secretly intercept conversations during an investigation. The young lawyers consider this a violation of a person’s right to privacy of communication, if it takes place without a court warrant, and as such is a violation of the Georgian Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy.

The lawmakers behind the powers did not agree, and argue that there is already enough safeguards for the privacy of the individual in current legislation, which excludes the possibility of secret interception and surveillance without judicial control.

But after reviewing the case, the Constitutional Court ruled that the law ‘interfered with the right to privacy of individuals enshrined in the first paragraph of article 20 of the Constitution of Georgia.’

The Court focused on the importance of letting the courts conduct oversight over secret wiretapping.

“The Constitutional Court of Georgia declared that the impugned norm restricted the right to privacy of the individual without judicial warrant and there was no urgent necessity of restriction that would be prescribed by law. Therefore, the Constitutional Court of Georgia upheld the constitutional claim and declared the disputed norm unconstitutional.”



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