Public Defender’s Statement One Year after July 5 Violence

On July 5, 2021, pre-organized groups committed group violence against a large number of civilians in different locations of Tbilisi. Journalists and citizens suffered health injuries of various degrees, representatives of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters could not enjoy the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, journalists were prevented from carrying out their professional activities, property of citizens was damaged and destroyed. More than a year after the commission of the serious crime, the organizers of the crime still go unpunished and participate in new illegal activities.

According to the Public Defender’s legal assessment, the publicly available video footage showing the organization of the violence of July 5, 2021, freely reach the standard of reasonable suspicion in order to launch criminal proceedings at least against Zurab Makharadze for organizing group violence. However, even a year after the violent events of July 5, the Prosecutor's Office has not initiated criminal prosecution against any person for organizing group violence. No prosecution has been launched against Spiridon Tskipurishvili either, who publicly called hundreds of people to violence.

At this stage, 53 people have been identified as victims of the July 5 group violence and criminal prosecution has been launched against 27 people. The Public Defender’s Office is currently studying several convictions of those involved in the violence. The Public Defender has repeatedly and publicly requested full access to the mentioned case materials, but to no avail.

We would like to remind the public that the European Commission has defined the very protection of vulnerable groups and more effective justice for perpetrators and organizers of violence as one of the prerequisites for Georgia to receive candidate status for EU membership.

The organizer group of the July 5 illegal actions and large-scale violence founded a political party of citizens in 2021. Many of their previous and subsequent statements contain signs of overthrowing the constitutional order, aim to stir up various types of strife, incite violence or contain signs of violence, and represent propaganda for war. It is for this reason that we have prepared a constitutional lawsuit regarding the banning of the mentioned political party. Since the Public Defender does not have the authority to apply to the Constitutional Court on this ground, we filed the draft lawsuit with several entities authorized to apply to the Constitutional Court and we hope that they will initiate proceedings in the court.

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