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The Shida Kartli Government Poorly Adjudicates Administrative Claims

02.06.2008
Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori

Is there any point in filing a complaint to any boards of administration? Will you find justice if you go to the government in its own chamber? Is there any hope if you sue a neighbor or a friend or an enemy that sits on the board of administration and not in court?

On January 17, 2008 an amendment was introduced to Georgian Administrative Procedural Code, Article 2, Paragraph 5 bears the following contents upon amendment:

“Court will not accept the appeal against an administrative body if an appellant had not taken advantage of the possibility of submitting a single term administrative appeal according to the requirements of the General Administrative Code of Georgia for filing an appeal.” The lawyers say this amendment limits the freedom of being able to address a court. They say this amendment is totally against the Constitution of Georgia, let alone standards of international law.

Tamar Gurchiani, the lawyer of Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) and the head of the Project for Supporting Accountability and Transparency states:

“There is no practice of adjudicating administrative appeals in administrative bodies. We conducted research in 2007 which showed that the administrative bodies simply didn’t know what they had to do regarding administrative appeals. We sent official letters to 60 administrative bodies within the frameworks of the research. Only 10 out of 60 gave us information on the cases that these bodies had actually adjudicated. 21 administrative appeals on freedom of information were adjudicated in total. 18 appeals out of 21 were filed by GYLA. 50 administrative bodies informed us they had not discussed any administrative appeals. The research demonstrated that Ministries are mostly connected to adjudicated administrative appeals. Therefore, we can conclude that the situation in this regard is rather difficult for regional bodies. According to statistics administrative boards, municipalities, regional tax bodies and other administrative bodies can not adjudicate administrative appeals let alone the practice of doing it. This data as well as the current situation shows us that the citizens are not protected whatsoever.”

GYLA is working on a constitutional appeal against the above-mentioned amendment.  Tamar Gurchiani says that they will submit the appeal in the nearest future.


How Shida Kartli’s Government Adjudicates Administrative Appeals

The Human Rights Center (HRIDC) Gori Office filed an administrative appeal in the Shida Kartli government on March 4, 2008. It was after the introduction of amendments to the Georgian legislature. The appeal was on conducting the contest on the vacancy of governor of municipality with violations of law. The content of the appeal is as follows:

“R. Chochishvili, former Gori district governor resigned from his job on February 7, 2008. His request on resignation was sustained. Gori Municipality Board, then selected and appointed a new governor through the violation of the Article 39 of the Law on Local Self-Governance

Article 39 states that the position of the district governor is selected on the basis of a contest. The Sakrebulo Bureau can receive applications within 14 days after vacancy on the position of the head of municipality is announced. The Bureau then selects an appellant and submits his candidature to Sakrebulo (body of local self-governance).” On February 15 Chairperson of the Gori Municipality Board stated in his interview with local TV Station “Trialeti” that he would announce a contest on the position on February 18, 2008. Zviad Khmaladze himself was the chairperson of the Municipality Board. The information was announced by the TV Company “Trialeti” in news programs at 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM on May 16 2008. In fact, the chairperson of the board made the announcement nine days after the position had been vacant. And the competition was to start on the eleventh day. The chairperson breached the rights of those people who wanted to take part in the competition.

Moreover, the situation did not end like that. On February 18 2008 (eleven days later) Gori municipality newspaper “Lomchabuki” published an announcement about the competition on the vacancy for district governor. The announcement stated the competition had started on February 8 2008 that is against law because it was to be announced on the day the former governor resigned. On February 7 2008, Ramaz Chochishvili resigned from his position of the district governor. Consequently, the applications should have been sent since February 7.

The same is written in the announcement of the municipality board in the newspaper “Lomchabuki” on February 18-24. The announcement states the board will receive applications everyday from February 8 to February 22, with the exception of weekends.

It is another violation of the law because Article 39 Paragraph Ii of the Law on Self-Government states the applications shall be delivered within 14 days. Evidently, the municipality board did not consider week-ends. Two weekends fall between the 8th to the 22nd of February, which means a total of four days. Consequently, Gori Municipality Board deprived the applicants from the right to use four days.

“Mr. Regional Governor,

Please, envisage above-mentioned circumstances and investigate how legal have been the activities of the municipality board.
In addition to that: “We urge you, based on the Article 4 of the Law on State Observer of the Activities of Local Self-governmental Agencies”, to enjoy your rights of observation that aims to promote the legality of the activities of the local self-governmental institutions. We urge you to carry out the competition for the position of the district governor based on principles of justice, equality and legality. Besides that, we ask you to carry out the competition during 14 days that was not previously followed as based on above-mentioned factors. We urge you to find the announcement of the newspaper “Lomchabuki” on February 18 and count the competition days according to the law. Otherwise, the new district governor will be declared as illegal.”

Annex: 1) announcement published in the newspaper Lomchabuki on February 18.
2. Information published on the website of the TV Company Trialeti.

Zurab Chinchilakashvili, deputy regional governor, was put in charge for studying the administrative suit of the Human Rights Center. Chinchilakashvili sent the suit to the chairperson of the Gori Municipality Governor and ordered to take up the issue. However, the Human Rights Center requested the Regional Administration, observatory agency for Municipality Board to study the illegal activities of the latter.

According to the Article 92 of the Georgian General Administrative Code, a public official, who is personally interested in the discussed issue, cannot interfere in the administrative proceeding. This means that the chairperson of the Municipality Board should not have been involved in discussing the case because the Human Rights Center had appealed against him. 

 

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