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CRIMINAL CASE OF GIORGI RURUA

27.07.2020

Legal analysis
  
Human Rights Center prepared the legal analysis of the criminal cases launched against Giorgi Rurua, one of the founders and shareholders of Mtavari Arkhi (The main Channel). The document is based on the reports of the court proceedings prepared by the court monitor of the Human Rights Center, further it is based on the identified problematic issues of the substantive criminal law and of the procedural criminal law. During the course of the research, the comparative and legal analysis is made based on the comparison of the national law and national court decisions with the relevant judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) making even more evident the various legal problems.
 
Giorgi Rurua was arrested on November 18, 2019. According to the indictment, Rurua is charged with committing an offense under paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 236 of the Criminal Code of Georgia envisaging the illegal purchase, storage, and carriage of firearms and ammunitions. On December 25, 2019, accused Giorgi Rurua was additionally charged with an offense under paragraph 1 of the Article 381 of the Criminal Code of Georgia envisaging the failure to execute the court decision, or the interference with the execution of the court decision. The issue concerns the refusal of Giorgi Rurua in a penitentiary facility to allow investigative actions namely acquisition of DNM sample and palm prints as ruled by the court. 

In order to identify possible political motivations in the case, given the international practice and Georgian specifics, the necessary criteria for the existence of a political prisoner status developed by the Council of Europe as well as Amnesty International have been used during the course of the research. 

By monitoring the court proceedings and by studying the documents it was made clear that rights and freedoms of Giorgi Rurua as guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, and international instruments were presumably violated during the personal search of Giorgi Rurua and during the various investigative and procedural actions. 


Namely, the accused was denied at the moment of arrest to contact a lawyer and family members, besides the investigator carried out a number of investigative actions without the participation of the defence council. It should also be noted that the procedural violations existing in the case together with the opinions of various experts put under doubts the relatedness of Giorgi Rurua with the firearm and the authenticity of the evidence.
 
As for the second charge, the aggravation of charges against Giorgi Rurua lacks constitutional grounds. Further, the aggravation is not justified by the purposes of the criminal law. The reason for aggravating the charges against the accused became the fact that the accused refused to participate in taking the sample, the right he had under the Constitution of Georgia and under the international documents of human rights. The criminal prosecution launched under the subsumption ignores the privilege to be protected against self-incrimination constituting the violation of fair trial. 

Human Rights Center monitors the criminal cases launched against Giorgi Rurua in the framework of the project “Public Events Monitoring.” Currently, HRC monitors trials into 20 criminal cases in the common courts, where alleged political motives are identified. The project is implemented with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.
                                                
                                                                  Human Rights Center 



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