22 November 2019,   06:29
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Strasbourg Court Rules on Irakli Batiashvili`s Case

On October, 10, 2019 the Strasbourg court has published its judgment on Irakli Batiashvili"s case. According to them, in the case of “Batiashvili vs Georgia”, the European Court of Human Rights found a violation of the right of fair criminal trials (paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the European Convention) and ordered the State to pay EUR 3,600 to Irakli Batiashvili in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

According to the Justice Ministry of Georgia:

The case "Batiashvili vs Georgia" refers to the violation of the rights of the applicant, I. Batiashvili, during the criminal proceedings initiated against him in 2006 for possible assistance to an armed group operating in the Kodori Gorge.

In the end of July 2006, Georgian authorities took control of the Kodori Gorge, where a local paramilitary group “Monadire” was ran by Emzar Kvtsiani.

In July 2006 a preliminary investigation was opened into the “creation and leadership of an illegal armed group, and the illegal purchase, storage and carrying of firearms” without elaborating on the grounds for opening the investigation, or persons identified as suspects. The investigation was launched based on the recordings of E. Kvtsiani’s telephone calls.

The investigating authorities obtained a judicial order permitting the interception and recording of E. Kvitsiani’s telephone calls. I. Batiashvili was charged with failure to report to the authorities the potential involvement of the Abkhaz separatists in the conflict with the State and with aiding and abetting the leader of the Kodori Gorge armed force, E. Kvitsiani after telephone calls between I. Batiashvili and E. Kvitsiani were intercepted.

In particular, a recording of one call played on broadcasting company “Rustavi-2” appeared to show I. Batiashvili and E. Kvitsiani discussing, among other things, help for the armed group from the Abkhazian separatists. Later I. Batiashvili claimed that E.Kvitsiani had refused the Abkhaz offer but that that part of the conversation had been omitted from the broadcast. I. Batiashvili was eventually held in pre-trial detention for 4 months and found guilty.

The Court found that the relevant authorities’ involvement in the manipulation and the subsequent dissemination of the audio recording to the media contributed to the applicant being perceived as guilty before his guilt was proved in court.

Court finds that there has been no violation of paragraph 3 and 4 of Article 5 of the Convention.

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