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Friday, February 3, 2023

Statement of the Public Defender of Georgia one year after the violence of July 5, 2021

Georgia: Last year, on July 5, 2021, pre-organized groups committed group violence against a large number of civilians in different places in Tbilisi.

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Georgia: Last year, on July 5, 2021, pre-organized groups committed group violence against a large number of civilians in different places in Tbilisi.

Journalists and citizens suffered injuries of varying degrees, representatives of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters could not enjoy the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, journalists were hindered in their professional activities, and citizens’ property was also damaged and destroyed. More than a year after the commission of a serious crime, the organizers of the crime are not punished and participate in new illegal actions. 

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According to the legal assessment of the Public Defender, the public video materials depicting the organization and leadership of the violence of July 5, 2021, freely reach the standard of reasonable suspicion so that even Zurab Makharadze can be prosecuted on the charge of organizing group violence.

However, even one year after the July 5 violent events, the prosecutor’s office has not initiated criminal prosecution against any person for organizing group violence. The prosecution did not start against Spyridon Tskifurishvili, who publicly called hundreds of people to violence.

At the moment, 53 people are known to be victims of the July 5 group violence, and criminal prosecution has been initiated against 27 people. The Office of the Public Defender is currently studying several convictions of those involved in the violence. The Public Defender has repeatedly requested to be fully admitted to the publicly mentioned case materials, but to no avail.

She reminded the public that one of the prerequisites for Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership by the European Commission is the protection of vulnerable groups and more effective justice for perpetrators and organizers of violence.

The organizing group of July 5 illegal actions and large-scale violence created a political party of citizens in 2021. Many of their previous and subsequent statements contain signs of overthrowing the constitutional order, stirring up various types of strife, encouraging violence or containing signs of violence themselves, and are propaganda for war. It is for this reason that we have prepared a constitutional lawsuit regarding the banning of the mentioned political party.

Since the Public Defender does not have the authority to appeal to the Constitutional Court on this basis, we have submitted the draft of the lawsuit to several entities authorized to appeal to the Constitutional Court, and we hope that they will initiate proceedings in the court.

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