Today’s ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has triggered mixed reactions among the ruling party and opposition politicians in Tbilisi.
The Georgian Dream leaders hailed the ruling, while the opposition politicians expressed disappointment, saying the ruling was “unexpected.” Some of the opposition politicians have alluded to a possibility of “influence” on the Court in this particular case.
Below is the compilation of remarks by Georgian politicians.
The decision of the Strasbourg-based court would be acceptable to us, no matter how it would end… The dispute between the State and Rustavi 2 TV has actually been ended and the fact is that the position of the State has been justified in all articles.
Today, the Georgian court has passed a very critical international test and the Strasbourg-based court ruled that the right to a fair trial has not been violated in respect of Rustavi 2 TV and its owners. Moreover, the suspension mechanism has been scrapped by the court decision.
It is very important that the ruling was adopted unanimously, actually by the full composition of the court.
Gia Baramidze, member of the United National Movement
“It is a regretful decision, but still it is not the decision, which should cause our despair. We know well that we are involved in an unequal fight, a fight with billions and very serious levers of state. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has been directly informed about Rustavi 2 and it would be a huge naivety to think that Ivanishvili’s money and leverage, as well as Putin’s influence are not implicated in the European Court ruling. Of course, I would not want to cast a shadow over the European Court… Anyway, our struggle will continue.”
“The today’s ruling of the European Court is dangerous and bad for Georgian democracy, but as responsible and pro-Western opposition, we do not question the decisions of the European Court… The today’s ruling provides the prospect of continuing legal proceedings by appealing the decision before the Grand Chamber of the European Court.”
“The government has crossed all red lines. It repeated November 7 [2007, when anti-governmental rallies were violently dispersed in Tbilisi) on June 20 [2019, violent dispersal of the anti-occupation rally in the capital], and now it is repeating the mistake of Imedi [TV, raided in November 2007, following the anti-governmental protests in the capital]. So, we have a full package for demonization of Bidzina Ivanishvili and he will be unable to survive Georgian people’s anger during the 2020 parliamentary elections.
There is no reason for panic… We should also understand that Strasbourg [court] is a legal and political organisation, because it is composed of the state-appointed representatives and we know very well that national governments exert influence on the judges from Eastern Europe and in turn, Russian government exerts influence on them [the said governments – eds.]… We should not rule out such influence either.”