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PACE welcomes Georgia’s application to Venice Commission2009-07-13 21:00
PACE co-rapporteurs on Georgia Mátyás Eörsi and Kastriot Islami are content with Speaker of Georgian Parliament David Bakradze's statement that draft amendments to the laws "On Assembly and Manifestation", "On Police" and to the Administrative Code will be submitted to the Venice Commission to ensure their compliance with Council of Europe standards of democracy and human rights as reported on the Council of Europe site, News Georgia writes.gt-en-newsitem-inside
"Freedom of assembly and expression are crucial for democracy. It is thus essential that any amendments to these laws are in conformity with European standards", - the co-rapporteurs stated.
As Georgia Times wrote earlier, on Saturday, July 11, in the first reading of the extraordinary session the Georgian parliament approved of amendments to the law "On Assembly and Manifestation", "On Police" and to the Administrative Code making rules of protest and administrative punishment more stringent.
According to the amendments the rules of manifestations and actions will get more severe. In particular the draft law includes a list of buildings 20 m around which it is prohibited to hold assemblies. The amendments also stipulate a ban on road blockage at the time of rallies except when a large number of demonstrators have no room on sidewalks.
The draft law shall define special means of enforcement and terms of their use. According to the draft law local authorities and law-enforcement bodies shall be in charge of restoration of traffic if the action doesn't comply with the new rules.
In case of violation of the rules under the law "On Assembly and Manifestation" administrative punishment will be higher too. According to preliminary information it's 30 days - 3 months' imprisonment and the amount of fine is around GEL 1000 (USD 600).
After the amendments to the draft law are adopted it will be referred to the Venice Commission as per the decision of Chairman of Georgian Parliament David Bakradze on request of Levan Vepkhadze of the parliamentary minority.