Strasbourg Court Finds Violation of Right to Fair Trial in Batiashvili Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has published a judgment in Georgian politician Irakli Batiashvili's case, the Ministry of Justice reports.

The Court held that there had been a violation of the right to a fair trial by the State in the “Batiashvili v. Georgia" case (2nd paragraph of Article 6 of the European Convention), for which it ordered the State to pay compensation for the moral damage to Batiashvili - € 3,600.

The case “Batiashvili v. Georgia” refers to a violation of applicant Irakli Batiashvili’s rights in the criminal proceedings launched against him in 2006 for possible assistance to an armed group operating in the Kodori Gorge.

In particular, at the end of July 2006, the Georgian authorities gained police control over the Kodori Gorge, where the armed group “Hunter” (Monadire in Georgian) had been operating.

In July 2006, following a televized address by Emzar Kvitsiani, the head of the group, an investigation was launched under Articles 223 (Establishment and Operation of Illegal Formation) and 236 (Illegal Purchase, Storage, and Carrying of Firearms) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

Investigative authorities obtained permission to hear and record Emzar Kvitsiani's telephone conversations. As a result of the telephone conversation between the applicant and Emzar Kvitsiani, Irakli Batiashvili was charged with failing to notify the authorities of the involvement of the Abkhaz separatists in the armed conflict between the authorities and the armed group due to intellectual support for the head of the Monadire group.

An edited version of the conversation between the two persons was given to Rustavi 2 TV by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. In the version released by the channel, the applicant and Emzar Kvitsiani discussed how Kvitsiani offered assistance to the Abkhaz separatist group. A section of the same recording, in which Emzar Kvitsiani said he refused to help the Abkhaz, was cut out and not broadcast by the channel. The aforementioned telephone conversation, among others, served as the basis for Irakli Batiashvili's 4-month pre-trial detention.

The Strasbourg Court held that the decision to install a recording of Irakli Batiashvili's telephone conversation through the involvement of the state agency and to distribute the recording in this way served the purpose of presenting the applicant as guilty before his conviction was confirmed by the court, thereby his presumption of innocence was violated.

11 October 2019 13:27