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More Appeals Sent to Strasbourg from Georgia

 Nini Topuridze

  More and more appeals are sent to the European Court of Human Rights from Georgia year by year. Particularly a large number of appeals were sent in 2008-2009. The Human Rights Center assists people to protect their rights at the European Court of Human Rights for free.

The citizens of the CoE member states can sue Member States at the European Court of Human Rights. The topic of their appeals is violation of human rights. Strasbourg Court discusses cases against States.

The European Court of Human Rights is the international legal institution established based on the European Convention of Human Rights in 1950. The first hearing at the Strasbourg Court was held in 1959. In 1960, the Court passed the first verdict on the case “Lavles VS Ireland”.

The Strasbourg Court enjoys international trust. It is proved by the fact that the verdicts passed by the Court are never appealed.

Currently, 47 states have right to submit suits to the Strasbourg Court. Georgia has obtained this right in 1999. The first Georgian case discussed by the European Court was the case of the political prisoner Tengiz Asanidze. He was in arbitrary detention for several years and finally the court discussions finished in his favor – 150 000 Euros were imposed on the Georgian State to pay to the victim.

On January 1, 2010 the European Court presented the report on its 50-year-long activities together with statistic data.

According to the report, Georgia is among those countries from which more and more people appeal to the court. According to the statistics, in 2000 7 suits were submitted to the Strasbourg Court; the statistic of the next years is the following: 22 suits were submitted in 2001; 29 suits in 2002; 35 suits – in 2003; 48 suits in 2004; 72 suits in 2005; 105 suits in 2006; 162 suits in 2007; 1771 suits in 2008 and 2122 suits in 2009.

Nowadays, more suits are submitted to the European Court of Human Rights against Russia (28, 1 %); the second on the rating is Turkey (with 11, 0 %); then Ukraine (8.4 %), Romania (8, 2%), Italy (6, 0%) and suits against Poland (4. 0%) and Georgia (3, 4 %) are almost equal. These figures demonstrate that human rights in Georgia are often breached.

In 2009, the European Court discussed 11 suits from Georgia and all 11 suits were satisfied. 7 violations from them were about inhuman and degrading treatment of a person; 1 was about lack of effective investigation; 6 – violation of freedom and security; 1 – violation of the right of personal life.

Since 1999, Strasbourg Court discussed 4 373 suits sent from Georgia. The court substantially discussed only 35 of them; declined 293 suits or removed from the list of earmarked cases. At least one violation of the European Convention was estimated in 28 cases. 

Experts think that in 2008-2009 the increased number of the suits from Georgia was caused by the Georgian-Russian conflict. So-called five-day war in Tskhinvali region resulted in thousands of victims, part of whom try to protect their rights at an international level. From this point of view, the governmental institutions also benefited to the increased number of appeals; they started to prepare appeals against Russia and sent them to Strasbourg in 2008-2009.

Lawyer of the Human Rights Center, Nikoloz Legashvili, works on the appeals to Strasbourg Court. He said one of the reasons of the increased number of appeals is free access to the European Court. Citizens of Georgia already know that the European Court is a good tool to protect the breached rights in Georgia.

In order to send the appeal to Strasbourg Court, suitor should have appealed to all court instances on the local level. Only after that, based on the corresponding documents, they can appeal to the Strasbourg Court. Unfortunately, in most cases, General Courts of Georgia do not foresee that certain cases can be discussed at the European Human Rights Court. The judges do not realize that when the European Court imposes the Georgian State to pay the compensation to the victim, the sums shall be allocated from the state budget.

The lawyers of the Human Rights Center actively support citizens with breached rights to protect their rights at the European Court of Human Rights.

Short time ago, Nodar Begiashvili applied to the Human Rights Center for help; on June 24, the Supreme Court of Georgia will discuss his case. If the Court does not protect the rights of the private owner and does not satisfy his suit, the lawyer of the Human Rights Center Nikoloz Legashvili will prepare the suit for the Strasbourg Court.
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