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Written declaration No. 607 | Doc. 14099 | 22 June 2016

Situation in Georgia in the run up to parliamentary elections

Signatories: Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Charles ALLAVENA, Monaco, EPP/CD ; Mr Ben-Oni ARDELEAN, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Volodymyr ARIEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Tobias BILLSTRÖM, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Elena CENTEMERO, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Yves CRUCHTEN, Luxembourg, SOC ; Mr Zsolt CSENGER-ZALÁN, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Geraint DAVIES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Josette DURRIEU, France, SOC ; Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Sir Roger GALE, United Kingdom, EC ; Ms Adele GAMBARO, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Karl GARÐARSSON, Iceland, ALDE ; Mr Valeriu GHILETCHI, Republic of Moldova, EPP/CD ; Mr Gerardo GIOVAGNOLI, San Marino, SOC ; Mr Vladyslav GOLUB, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Maria GRECEA, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Andres HERKEL, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Mr Gediminas JAKAVONIS, Lithuania, ALDE ; Mr Frank J. JENSSEN, Norway, EPP/CD ; Mr Carles JORDANA, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Marietta KARAMANLI, France, SOC ; Mr Serhii KIRAL, Ukraine, EC ; Mr Attila KORODI, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Duarte MARQUES, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Alberto MARTINS, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Meritxell MATEU, Andorra, ALDE ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Killion MUNYAMA, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Zsolt NÉMETH, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI, ''The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'', EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Agnieszka POMASKA, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Nadiia SAVCHENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Serhiy SOBOLEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Maria Edera SPADONI, Italy, NR ; Ms Lorella STEFANELLI, San Marino, EPP/CD ; Mr Dominik TARCZYŃSKI, Poland, EC ; Mr Leonid YEMETS, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Svitlana ZALISCHUK, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Kristýna ZELIENKOVÁ, Czech Republic, ALDE ; Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

Georgia will have pivotal parliamentary elections this year. Already several times, facts of organised violence against opposition members of parliament and politicians by individuals linked with the Georgian Government have been reported. It is the responsibility of the Government to punish offenders and repeated failure to do so raises serious questions about the level playing field in Georgia.

In a landmark decision of June 14 on the case of the Secretary General of Georgia’s main opposition party and former Prime Minister Mr Ivane Merabishvili vs Georgia, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a unanimous decision finding a breach of Article 18 of the Convention. Mr Merabishvili is only the third political figure in relation to whom this breach was established by the Court.

It should be said that the practice of the Committee of Ministers in cases when a breach of this article was established has been to recommend the release of the person concerned and the dropping of all charges. We call upon the President of Georgia to use his constitutional powers and respect this decision. The Secretary General of the main opposition party imprisoned in the run up to the elections and found to be deprived of Article 18 rights by the European Court already casts a shadow on these elections.