Rustavi 2 Case

ECHR Permanently Prolongs Suspension of Supreme Court’s Ruling on Rustavi 2

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Photo: Newsweek

The European Court of Human Rights made the decision to prolong the suspension of the Georgian Supreme Court’s ruling on Rustavi 2. On March 2nd, the Supreme Court of Georgia made a decision to grant ownership of the Rustavi 2 TV Company to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. The implementation of the decision was then suspended by the European Court of Human Rights on March 3rd.

“The chamber of ECHR unanimously prolonged the decision made on 3rd March. The Government of Georgia is now restricted in implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling until the European Court of Human Rights gives them the right to do so," reports the director of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia.

On March 5, Kibar Khalvashi and his lawyer Paata Salia went to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. On the same day, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze also arrived in Strasbourg holding meetings in the ECHR. The Minister has not specified whether he was in the court in regards to the Rustavi 2 Case.

13 opposition parties have issued a joint statement regarding the Rustavi 2 ownership case, saying that what is currently happening with the broadcaster could harm Georgia’s democratic path and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Responding to the ECHR decision, 28 non-governmental organizations in Georgia called for the Strasbourg court to “use the right of temporary suspension mechanism until a final decision is made.”

The case received wide international attention from diplomatic organizations and members of European Parliament. The EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi also issued official statements raising concerns regarding freedom of media and freedom of speech in Georgia.

Tbilisi City Court and the Appellate Court of Georgia previously decided to grant 100% ownership of the TV company to former owner Kibar Khalvashi; his sister has been an MP for the Georgian Dream party since 2012. Rustavi 2 applied to appeal the decisions to the Supreme Court. The decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia is final and cannot be appealed to another court in Georgia.

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