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The Daily Beat: 20 April

In its decision in the inter-State case Georgia v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously declared the application admissible. The court decision will be followed by a judgment on the merits at a later stage.  The case concerns the alleged deterioration of the human rights situation along the administrative boundary lines between Georgian-controlled territory and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including unlawful arrests, torturing, murdering, and intimidating ethnic Georgians.  The Georgian government lodged the case on 22 August 2018, and it is the fourth Georgia v. Russia inter-state application. Justice Ministry claimed that by this decision, the court confirmed that Russia is responsible for the mass violations committed against the Georgian population, as it continues to exercise effective control over the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia.

Undermining the quorum has become a daily routine of the parliament as the ruling party thwarted a vote to set up a parliamentary inquiry commission to investigate allegations of judicial corruption for the third time in a row by failing to register for the session. Only 52 deputies registered, while 76 deputies are needed for a quorum. According to Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling party, all lawmakers must respect “state sovereignty, the principle of independence of the judiciary,” urging the majority not to register for the session.

The Council of Europe published the 27th Consolidated Report on the Conflict in Georgia, highlighting severe human rights concerns in the areas affected by the Russo-Georgia war in 2008. The bi-annual report, presented by the CoE Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić to the Committee of Ministers and covering the November 2022-March 2023 period, notes the lack of progress on the key issues concerning human rights and humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas of Georgia. The report reflects the persistence of restrictions on freedom of movement and problems with access to education and healthcare.

The Media Advocacy Coalition, a group of press freedom watchdogs, issued a statement denouncing the Tbilisi City Court’s decision to fine the journalists of online media outlets Publika and Tabula GEL 2.200 each. Media Advocacy Coalition claims that journalists were detained and later released during the committee hearings on the foreign agents’ bill initiated by the ruling party. According to the statement, the Coalition believes that the court’s decision aims to obstruct and restrict journalists’ activities and, by doing so, contradicts the democratic processes. Journalists – Zura Vardiashvili and Beka Jikurashvili were detained on administrative charges during the March 2 protests. Although they were soon released, the case continued on charges of petty hooliganism and disobeying police orders.

Data of the Day

National Statistics Office published preliminary data indicating a 22.1% foreign trade growth in the first quarter of 2023. During the same period, exports from Georgia increased by 24.7% to USD 1.5 billion, while imports rose by 21% to USD 3.3 billion. According to released data, Turkey appears to be Georgia’s largest trade partner, with USD 673.7 million in trade volume, followed by Russia with USD 666.9 million and China with USD 376.0 million.  


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