Strasbourg Court suspends the enforcement of the Supreme Court decision on Rustavi 2 case
04 March, 2017
Strasbourg Court suspends the enforcement of the Supreme Court decision on Rustavi 2 case
Rustavi 2 TV company Director General Nika Gvaramia announced that the Strasbourg Court has suspended the enforcement of the Supreme Court decision on the Rustavi 2 case.

As Nika Gvaramia said at a press conference yesterday, they received very good news from the European Court of Human Rights.

“It is an unprecedented decision, which puts current political developments of Georgia under a very big question. For the first time in its history the Court suspended the enforcement of the Supreme Court
decision. Similar measure has never been used by the Strasbourg Court expect for the cases concerning torture or extradition of a person, or when a person’s life is in danger.

However, the Court has never used this measure either with regard to the property rights or the freedom of expression. This is a historic occasion. The Rustavi 2 case and the shameful judicial authorities of Georgia laid the foundations for the new practice of the European Court,"- Nika Gvaramia said.

According to him, the document says that the execution of the Supreme Court decision has been suspended until March 8, while further explanations will be made later. In addition, the Court requested additional documentation.

According to Rustavi 2 Director, the decision of the European Court also says that the government should refrain from interfering with editorial policy.

Afterwards, Georgia's Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani said at a special press conference that the decision to suspend the enforcement of the Supreme Court decision in the Rustavi 2 case was made by “the judge on duty”.

“The correspondence from the Strasbourg Court shows that Rustavi 2, as a company, applied to the European Court and it named the government of Georgia as a respondent party.

Rustavi 2 requested the following: the first – to ban the government of Georgia from executing the 2 March decision until the European Court consider the case on its merits and delivers the final decision; the second - to ban the government of Georgia from shutting down Rustavi 2; the third - to prohibit the government from changing the management or the board of the company.

Rustavi 2 submitted statements, including made by the European People's Party members at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly at various times, as well as the statements made by the US Embassy's statement yesterday, the statements made in our media, to substantiate its suit and said if the Strasbourg Court would not satisfy their request, democracy would end and violence would erupt in Georgia. This is what was demanded by the company,” the Justice Minister said.

“The Strasbourg Court would take such a measure only if it were assured that the case was politically important dispute and not just a property dispute,” - President's Secretary Ana Dolidze said when commenting on the Strasbourg Court decision on the Rustavi 2 case. “In 95% of the cases, the court applies the measure of suspension in cases concerning torture or extradition or when human lives are at risk.

This is the one of the levers of the court to suspend the execution of the decision before studying the case deeper and better. The court probably suspended the execution of the Supreme Court decision in order to better study the decision and after that the court will decide whether to uphold the suspension until the establishment of the truth,” Ana Dolidze added.

Earlier that day Giorgi Margvelashvili, the President of Georgia, called on all parties to refrain from making provocative and offensive decisions with respect to Rustavi 2 and to wait for the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights and not to take hasty steps. He also said that if the activities of an independent media are limited, it will be a problem of not any particular media outlet, but a problem of democracy in the country as well.

US Embassy to Georgia as well as the Freedom House have also expressed concern on the developments around Rustavi 2.

As a reminder, by the decision of Georgia’s Supreme Court, the businessman Kibar Khalvashi was declared the owner of 60% of shares of Rustavi 2 TV Company and as for the remaining 40%, they were declared the property of Panorama Ltd. The decision sparked protests in a part of Georgian society and was named by many as threat for the freedom of speech and democracy in the country.

Related Stories:

“Rustavi 2” TV Company case: Court decision, supporters, confronting parties

BBC: Georgia row over TV channel ruling

US Embassy concerned on the Supreme Court’s Decision Related to Rustavi 2
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