Public Defender Addresses Tbilisi City Assembly to Annul Order Issued in relation to Z.N.

The Public Defender, on hisown initiative, studied the legality of Tbilisi City Assembly’s order[1], according to which, Z.N. was handed over a municipal plot of land worth GEL 515 460 as well as GEL 455800 in cash in return for depriving him of the right to ownership of a plot of land in the disaster zone.

The study of the case materials showed that the order contradicts the applicable legislation and there are grounds for its annulment. In particular, the Public Defender considers that the decision is unjustified and does not comply with the applicable legislation.

According to the case materials, Z.N. became the owner of the plot of land in the disaster zone on the basis of a purchase agreement signed with JSC Bank of Georgia on November 29, 2016. Since no house was located on the land, the City Assembly’s order[2] on assistance of the families affected by the disaster of 13-14 June 2015 did not apply to it. In the given case, the City Assemblyacted in accordance with the Law of Georgia on Confiscation of Property in case of Urgent Public Necessity, according to which, the urgent necessity is the situation in which human life or health and public/state safety, are at risk due to war, state of emergency, ecological disaster, natural disaster, epidemics or epizootic hazard.

The Public Defender concluded that since Z.N. did not have property or other proprietary rights in the disaster zone at the moment of the disaster, he could not be regarded as a disaster-affected person. In addition, the administrative materials contain no justification of the nature or form of the urgent necessity at the time of confiscation of Z.N.’s property.

It is noteworthy that the act concerned is unsubstantiated both in terms of the public necessity/urgent need and the amount of compensation. The case materials show that Z.N. was compensated for the deprivation of property rights even though he did not own the plot of land at the time of the natural disaster. He purchased the damaged property after the disaster and was informed of it.

Taking into account all the above, the Public Defender demands annulment of the abovementioned order.

Finally, it should be noted that similar resolution of cases raises questions with regard to the rules of compensation of the victims affected by the disaster of 13-14 June 2015. The Public Defender mentioned the deficiencies in the legal act on the elimination of the consequences of the 13-14 June disaster in his annual parliamentary report as well and drew attention to the fact that there were no rules for compensation of the persons whose plots of land were in the disaster zone, though they did not have houses there. In addition, the Public Defender disapproves the fact that the persons who had various buildings (for example, garages) in the disaster zone are not included in the category of victims.[3] If the local authorities consider similar consideration of the issue as a problem, it is necessary to make systemic changes and develop a uniform approach, instead of subjectively resolving individual cases.

[1] Tbilisi City Assembly’sorder N419 of 23 December 2016.

[2] Tbilisi City Assembly’sorder N17-66 of 5 July 2015 on “Approval of Rules of Providing Housing for Persons (Families) Affected by the Disaster of 13-14 June 2015, Concession of Property and Financial Assistance”.

[3] Parliamentary report of the Public Defender of Georgia, 2016, pages 785-789.

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