Strasbourg Court Finds Violation of Procedural Aspect of Article 3 of Human Rights Convention relating to Crackdown on 20-21 June 2019 Protest Rally

The European Court of Human Rights[1] found a violation of the procedural aspect of Article 3 of the Convention relating to the ineffective investigation of the use of rubber bullets and physical violence against protestors during the dispersal of an assembly on June 20-21, 2019.

It is noteworthy that in its judgement the European Court refers to the findings and recommendations of the Public Defender reflected in the special and parliamentary reports.

According to the Court, despite the fact that the Public Defender's Office emphasized the need for the investigative bodies to conduct a systemic analysis of events in July 2019 and March 2020, such an analysis has not been done so far; No official report has been prepared either, describing the detailed chronology of events, the stages of planning and implementation of the dispersal of the rally – in order to prevent similar incidents in the future. Despite the clear recommendations of the Public Defender, the responsibility of the responsible persons has not been properly considered or evaluated.

The European Court also focuses on the obligation of the State to ensure the possibility of identifying police officers (through the visible identification signs of masked policemen) suspected of ill-treatment during the planning and implementation of large-scale police measures.

As for the essential aspect of Article 3 of the Convention, at this stage the European Court refrained from making a decision for the reason that the investigation is pending.

The Court points out that in order to implement the decision, first of all, the authorities of Georgia should draw appropriate conclusions regarding the issues that remain open within the framework of the ongoing investigation.

The Public Defender believes that it is necessary to execute the decision of the European Court of Human Rights and the investigative body must establish a complete picture of the events during the dispersal of the rally and assess the responsibility of the relevant persons.

[1] Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of May 7, 2024 in the case "Tsaava and others v. Georgia", see:{%22fulltext%22:[%22tsaava%22],%22itemid%22:[%22001-233412%22]}

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