The Ministry of Justice of Georgia has released a statement regarding the launch of hearings of the lawsuits of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, oppositionists Nikanor Melia and Gigi Ugulava in the Strasbourg Court.
The Ministry said in a statement that all three cases are at the initial phase of consideration and the parties are beginning to present evidence.
“The Ministry of Justice clarifies the procedures regarding the ongoing cases in the European Court of Human Rights, in which Mikheil Saakashvili, Nikanor Melia and Gigi Ugulava are suing Georgia, and states that all three cases are at the initial stage of consideration and now the parties are beginning to present positions and evidence.
“The Georgian government has solid arguments in all three cases, which it will present to the European Court. The cases of all three applicants – Saakashvili, Melia and Ugulava v. Georgia – are being heard by the Strasbourg Court under the standard procedure, which means that the court will receive two written positions respectively from the applicants and the Georgian Government, with evidence, and make a decision based on that. The exchange of positions by the parties and the decision of the court will take at least two years.
“Mikheil Saakashvili disputes that the verdict against him that pardoning Sandro Girgvliani’s murderers contradicts the European Convention. The European Court indicates in its correspondence that this is exactly the case in which the Strasbourg court itself found Georgia’s violation in the case of 26 April 2011 – ‘Enukidze and Girgvliani v. Georgia’. Saakashvili also considers that the rulings of the three-instance courts of Georgia, which confirmed that the brutal beating of MP Valeri Gelashvili on July 14, 2005, was carried out on the personal orders of Mikheil Saakashvili, and which sentenced him to six years in prison, is inconsistent with the European Convention.
“Nikanor Melia claims that his arrest on February 23, 2021, does not comply with the requirements of the European Convention. The court described in correspondence sent to Georgia that Melia’s arrest was preceded by him removing his bracelet on November 1, 2020, and then his refusal to pay bail, after which the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Melia to pre-trial detention.
“Gigi Ugulava disputed in his lawsuit all the criminal cases completed and ongoing in Georgia against him: 1) The so-called Tbilisi Development Fund episode in which Ugulava is convicted of misappropriation of large amounts of state property; 2) The so-called Rike episode; 3) The so-called Tbilservis Group episode in which Ugulava is convicted of abuse of power; 4) The incident that took place on December 11, 2019 at the Tbilisi airport, in which Ugulava is accused of violence,” reads the statement issued by the Ministry of Justice.
Today, on May 12, it became known that the European Court had accepted the case of the arrest of the chairperson of the ‘National Movement,’ Nika Melia. Strasbourg will discuss the legality of Melia’s arrest.
The politician’s lawyer, Dito Sadzaglishvili, says Melia’s case is comparable to such high-profile trials as Navalny v. Russia and Tymoshenko v. Ukraine.
By Ana Dumbadze