The Chairman of the parliamentary Committee for Legal Issues, Eka Beselia, has also commented on the ECHR decision to suspend the Supreme Court’s ruling on Rustavi 2, noting that a decision made on the national level cannot be changed by anyone. According to MP Beselia:
“Nobody from the Georgian government has said that the decision of the European Court of Human Rights is not obligatory. Its decision is obligatory for all of the members of the Council of Europe, and that’s why we give major attention to its decisions and the implementation process.
We also respect the decision made by our court’s highest instance, which is also obligatory. The content of the decision made on the national level cannot be changed by anyone.
We also respect the ECHR decision. Whether it is a temporary or a final one, we will see as the process continues,” MP Beselia stated.
The Strasbourg court made a decision to suspend the implementation of the Georgian Supreme Court’s ruling on Rustavi 2 based on Rule 39 of the ECHR, an interim measures which applies only where there is an “imminent risk of irreparable harm.” The ECHR then prolonged the suspension on March 7th.
The ECHR decision regarding Rustavi 2 is unprecedented. The suspension mechanism was never used regarding cases of freedom of expression; it has previously been used by the Strasbourg court when a human life is in danger.
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 Rustavi 2 ruling received wide international attention from diplomatic organizations and members of European Parliament. The EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi 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 of Georgia.