2015 Annual Report on the Execution of ECHR Judgments – Notes on GEORGIA


- The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, a political body bringing together representatives of the 47 member states, is responsible for overseeing the implementation of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights

- The Committee of Ministers holds regular meetings to assess the progress which is being made on implementing outstanding cases and to adopt decisions accordingly; cases are closed when the committee considers them to have been properly implemented

- The Committee produces an annual report showing the number of cases which are pending (yet to be implemented), the countries/issues concerned and the proportion of “leading” cases which raise new issues in relation to “repetitive” cases, highlighting already existing problems

Key points

- Globally “very encouraging results”: the positive trend that had emerged over recent years was confirmed in 2015: 1,285 new cases came before the Committee of Ministers in 2015 (a decrease compared to 2014); a record number of cases were closed in 2015 (1,537), especially old complex cases, and there was a further promising decrease in the number of pending cases (10,652); of those, 1,555 (15%) were leading cases raising new issues.

- The results achieved at national level indicate that domestic execution has become more efficient.

- Two major challenges remain:

o Continued increase of cases pending for more than five years (20% by end-2011, and 55% by end-2015);

o “Pockets of resistance” (linked to social prejudices towards Roma and other minorities, to political considerations, “frozen conflicts”) increasingly impede the execution of judgments.

Statistics, with a focus on Georgia

- Georgia had 38 pending (not executed) cases, compared to 29 in 2014. The countries with the highest number of pending cases at the end of 2015 were Italy (2,421), Turkey (1,591), Russia (1,549), Ukraine (1,052) and Romania (652).

- Georgia has paid just satisfaction (compensation) on time in 12 cases, after the deadline in 2 cases, and in 5 cases the confirmation of payment was expected.

- It took Georgia 2.9 years on average to implement leading cases – this is lower than the average among the Council of Europe member states of 4.5 years.

- Just satisfaction awarded (how much Georgia had to pay out following the Court’s judgments of 2015): EUR 184,652- a slight increase on 2014

- Main pending cases for Georgia: The list includes cases related to degrading treatment because of the detention conditions in prisons, ineffective investigations into excessive use of force by the police, and lack of protection against homophobic attacks during a demonstration (Identoba et al. v. Georgia).

- Cases closed by final resolution during 2015: Deficient legal framework granting compensation to nationals who sustained various forms of political persecution and oppression in the former Soviet Union between 1921 and 1990 (Klaus and Yuri Kiladze v. Georgia)

Main achievements and reforms in Georgia since 1998

Medical care in prison: Extensive reforms of the prison system were undertaken in 2010-2014 in order to improve the medical care system and a new Prison Code was adopted, notably including the right to health in line with European Prison Rules.

Detention: Introduction of new rules to ensure speedy judicial control of detention, also after the prosecutor’s transfer of the case-file to the trial court – codified in the 2010 Code of Criminal Procedure.

Enforcement of judicial decisions: Enforcement of judicial decisions has been improved, including through a special budget in 2007 to ensure the honouring by the State of old judgment debt. A new enforcement organization was set up – the National Bureau of Enforcement. Enforcement was further improved in 2010, notably as regards judgment debt owed by the State or public law entities, including the creation of a government fund to honor such debt and the payment of damages for losses caused.

Fair trial: The adversarial principle has been introduced in all criminal proceedings and the necessity of motivating court decisions has been stressed through amendments in 2006 and 2007 to the Criminal Procedure Code. The 2010 revision developed and improved the right to be exempted from court fees where necessary to preserve the right of access to court.

Freedom of expression: The law on defamation has been changed to distinguish facts and value judgments and journalists and others are no longer required to prove the truth of the information communicated. A new law on freedom of expression from 2004 also provides that it is for private claimants to prove that statements challenged are false, and that officials must prove that the statements were published with knowledge that they were false. Good faith about the truth is also introduced as a general defence.

Compensation to victims of Soviet era repression: Legislative amendments were adopted in 2011 and 2014 in order to grant compensation to the victims of Soviet era repression.

Vazha Tavberidze

31 March 2016 20:54