Human Rights Center Evaluates Interrogation of Nika Gvaramia in the Tbilisi City Court
Yesterday, on February 16, the director general of the Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia was interrogated before the magister judge at the Tbilisi City Court; representative of Human Rights Center monitored the interrogation process.
Head of the legal aid service at Human Rights Center Tamar Avaliani attended the interrogation process at the Tbilisi City Court with the status of Nika Gvaramia’s lawyer.
Human Rights Center is surveying how the new rule of the witness interrogation is applied in practice. The new rule went in force on February 20, 2016.
In accordance to the new rule, based on the solicitation of the prosecutor, considering the place of the investigation or witness’ presence, the person may be interrogated in front of the magister judge if there is a fact or/and information which may satisfy the impartial person to identify circumstances of the criminal case and if the person refuses to be interrogated by the investigative body.
After the director general of the Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia refused to be interrogated by the investigative body, he was questioned in front of the judge with the witness status.
Nika Gvaramia was questioned based on the Article 284 Part I (illegal access to the computer information) and Article 159 Part I and II (illegal disclosure of the privacy of personal correspondence) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
Human Rights Center evaluates that Nika Gvaramia was questioned in front of the judge in the Tbilisi City Court through substantial violations: although Nika Gvaramia was questioned about illegal access to the computer information and illegal obtaining and dissemination of personal correspondence, the investigation representative mostly asked him about the content of the correspondence that was not related with the investigation of concrete fact. Consequently, we have legitimate doubt that the investigation tried to re-direct the process towards the bribe-accepting episode and asked the questions specifically about it.
It is important to note that the judge did not try to reject the questions, which were not in relation with the case and did not indicate the investigator to ask questions only about the case.
Human Rights Center believes the passive role of the judge does not support effective defense of the witness in the stage of interrogation. The role of the magister judge is to promote fair and effective interrogation of the witness.
Considering the abovementioned circumstances, Human Rights Center addresses:
the Chief Prosecutor’s Office to conduct the investigation in transparent and impartial manner so that the independent monitor does not have feeling of unfair investigation into the case;
the Supreme Court to ensure raise of qualification of the judges about the new rule of witness interrogation and about their role in the process.
Human Rights Center
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