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Public Defender’s Statement on Yaroslav Sumbayev’s Case

The Public Defender of Georgia considers that Georgia should not make a positive decision relating to the motion of the Russian Federation concerning additional charges against Yaroslav Sumbayev.

In October 2019, Georgia satisfied the Russian Federation's request relating to the extradition of Yaroslav Sumbayev.

The Public Defender's Office of Georgia was closely monitoring the case and had intensive communications with the Prosecutor General's Office before the extradition of Yaroslav Sumbayev.

According to the Georgian Prosecutor's Office, Yaroslav Sumbayev has not been charged with regard to the offence for which he was sentenced to death. In addition, according to the European Convention on Extradition, a person who has been extradited shall not be proceeded against, sentenced or detained with a view to the carrying out of a sentence or detention order for any offence committed prior to his surrender other than that for which he was extradited.[1] Under the Convention, the exception is when the Party, which carries out extradition, gives consents (in this case Georgia). In addition, extradition shall be possible for offences, for which consents are given in accordance with the Convention on Extradition.[2] The Convention specifies that extradition may not be carried out if the offence for which extradition is requested is punishable by death under the law of the requesting Party and if the Party cannot give sufficient assurance that the death-penalty will not be carried out.[3]

It should also be noted that under the obligations of the Council of Europe, the Russian Federation announced a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty.

Despite extradition, the Public Defender's Office has not stopped monitoring the protection of Yaroslav Sumbayev's rights and asked the Prosecutor's Office to find out whether the Russian Federation had planned to file additional charges against Yaroslav Sumbayev.

The letter of the Prosecutor General's Office of 7 February 2020 reads that the Russian Federation additionally asked the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia to file additional charges against Yaroslav Sumbayev in connection with E.Sh.’s murder case.

So far, the Georgian party has not made a decision on the motion of the Russian Federation.

According to the law, the Minister of Justice of Georgia shall consent to filing additional charges against Yaroslav Sumbayev (in connection with an offence allegedly committed by him in the past), taking into account the position of the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia on legal issues.[4]

Both the authorities and the public are aware that Russia ranks first according to the number of the cases lost to the European Court of Human Rights in 2019 relating to the violations of Article 2 (Right to Life) and Article 3 (Prohibition of Torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2019 alone, the Strasbourg court found violations of these two rights and their ineffective investigation in 130 cases.[5]

Accordingly, in light of the fact that the Russian Federation systematically violates the Convention obligations, the threat of abolishing the moratorium on the death penalty cannot be completely ruled out.

The Public Defender calls on the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia and the Minister of Justice of Georgia not to make a positive decision regarding the petition of the Russian Federation and not to consent to filing additional charges against Yaroslav Sumbayev in connection with E.Sh.’s murder case. Otherwise, the rights of Yaroslav Sumbayev may be substantially violated with the support and participation of the Georgian party.


[1] The 1957 European Convention on Extradition, Article 14, para. 1.

[2] Ibid, Article 14, para. 1, subpara. „a“.

[3] The 1957 European Convention on Extradition, Article 11.

[4] Law of Georgia on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters, Article 34, part 16.

[5] https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Stats_violation_2019_ENG.pdf

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