13 June 2024,   23:50
It is disappointing that platform of the Venice Commission has been used to make biassed political judgments instead of professional, which damages the reputation of Venice Commission - Kurasbediani

The Georgian Dream responds to the Venice Commission’s [VC] critical opinion on the Law on Transparency, asserting that the conclusion lacks substantiated legal arguments, contains biassed political assessments. The relevant statement was made by Salome Kurasbediani, a member of the parliamentary majority.

“We would like to respond to the conclusion of the VC regarding the law of Georgia on transparency of foreign influence, on which the radical opposition and related NGOs have high hopes. The conclusion of the VC confirmed once again that there are no legal or other arguments against the Georgian law on transparency.

In the conclusion of the VC, we find a lot of unsubstantiated and contradictory legal arguments, as well as a number of gross distortions of facts, which further encourages the radicalisation of specific groups. It is therefore disappointing that the platform of the VC has been used to make biassed political judgments instead of professional judgement, which again and again damages the reputation of VC.

When voicing this information, the VC relies on one of the Georgian internet articles. In fact, we included the mentioned clarifications in the draft law in its 2nd reading during the discussion at a plenary session of the Parliament, which was announced verbatim at a plenary session and was broadcast live. Accordingly, these clarifications were immediately published on the website of the Parliament of Georgia even before the adoption of the law.

At the same time, the VC appeals that the [transparency] law seems to have been adopted in a short period of time, and it seems that the stakeholders did not have the opportunity to participate in its discussion. In fact, let us remind you that the discussion of the draft law was carried out in a standard procedure (without any acceleration) for several weeks, during many hours of committee and plenary sessions, where the radical opposition was fully represented. NGOs also actively participated in the discussioned.

The VC notes that the current legislation of Georgia seems to provide for the obligation to register the finances of NGOs and submit reports. To confirm this, it refers to the Civil Code of Georgia, the Tax Code of Georgia and other separate normative acts. In fact, all the current norms that the VC appeals to in its conclusion cannot ensure the obligation of the NGO sector to fill in the financial declaration, nor the transparency of their finances. Therefore, the VC’s indication that the financial part of grants received by NGOs is transparent is not true!”, - said Salome Kurasbediani.

The Venice Commission issued today an urgent opinion urging the repeal of Georgia’s Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, citing significant incompatibility with international human rights standards.