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Recommendation of Public Defender of Georgia to the Common Courts

22.01.2013

On January 10, 2013 Representatives of the Centre for Disability Rights of the Office of Public Defender of Georgia visited Tbilisi City Court in order to attend the hearing of the case of Koba Nadiradze, a person with disability and an executive director of the “Youth Centre for Independent Life”, NGO working on disability issues.

During the visit, representatives of the Public Defender found violations of rights of Koba Nadiradze and other individuals, willing to attend the hearing.
 
  In particular, in order to attend the hearing, Koba Nadiradze and other persons with disabilities could not move to the 6th floor, due to the fact that the building of the Court is not fully adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities.
 
In spite of the fact that replacement on different floors of the building is possible by the elevator, it is also necessary to use stairs in order to get into the court room. It is impossible for the person with limited mobility to move independently in this area.
 
According to the Constitution of Georgia, Article 42, “everyone has the right to apply to a court for the protection of his/her rights and freedoms”. This norm implies the obligation of the State to undertake necessary measures in order to ensure the access to the Court for every interested individual. |
 
Access to the court encompasses not only the possibility of an individual to address the court for examining his/her case, but also physical and territorial access to the court.
 
Public Defender of Georgia discussed the problem relating to access to the court for those persons with disabilities who move with the wheelchairs and addressed the Common Courts with subsequent recommendation in his Annual Parliamentary Report of 2011.
 
The abovementioned fact once again illustrated the actuality of the problem relating to the access to the court buildings by persons with disabilities. Therefore, Public Defender of Georgia addresses Common Courts with the recommendation to undertake relevant measures in order to make the Court (including court rooms) physically accessible for persons with disabilities. Before settling this problem, Public Defender of Georgia recommends to take the abovementioned situation into consideration and to arrange court hearings, involving persons with disabilities (parties), in those court rooms where their attendance will be ensured.


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