Meeting of civil society organizations to discuss Constitutional Court Bill. June 3. Tbilisi (Facebook)

Meeting of civil society organizations to discuss Constitutional Court Bill. June 3. Tbilisi (Facebook)

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Civil society organizations brace for appealing revised constitutional court bill, and express their discontent with the final version of the bill that includes the president’s objections.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed a bill on Constitutional Court on May 31, and sent it back together with his objections. The parliament decided not to try to override the veto. Instead, the president’s objections were adopted.

However, the opposition and many civic groups oppose the bill, supposing it weakens the power of the Constitutional Court in favor of government, which views it as its political adversary.

The Court has had several rulings unfavorable to the incumbent government, including a case of Rustavi 2 litigation, when its decision helped to avert violent takeover of the opposition TV channel.

In their public speeches many members of the government as well as prominent Georgian Dream politicians overtly criticize the Constitutional Court as being sympathizer of the previous government of Mikheil Saakashvili.

On Friday, the Open Society Georgia Foundation organized a meeting to discuss the bill with representatives of international and local organizations, as well as lawyers and media. Majority of the attendants agreed there were several problematic provisions, and backed the idea of appealing these provisions in the Constitutional Court.

On Monday representatives of several NGOs declared there were preparations to appeal the bill, yet there were no clear details.

Coalition of Independent and Transparent Judiciary, which encompasses 36 NGOs, including OSGF, Transparency International Georgia and Young Lawyers’ Association, said last week they would appeal the bill in the constitutional Court.

There are three problematic provisions in the draft and civic groups would appeal to court to amend the bill as soon as it was enacted, Giorgi Burjanadze of OSGF says to DF Watch.

Vakhushti Menabde, a lawyer and associate professor at Ilia State University, said that President Margvelashvili’s objections didn’t reflect the real issues concerning the bill comprehensively and that the only way out was to appeal to the court.