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The News in Brief

Friday, April 17
Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia – modesty is especially needed today

We especially need modesty today, Patriarch Illia the Second declared yesterday at the Maundy Thursday liturgy in Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Ilia the Second congratulated the congregation on the day and spoke about the importance of the ceremony of the washing of the feet. “Jesus Christ showed us by this how important it is to be humble,” the Patriarch stated, as he washed the feet of 12 priests.

The name Maundy (‘commandment’) refers to the instruction to love one another given by Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13–34). Before his last meal, Jesus showed Christian love for his disciples when he washed their feet, which was usually a servant's job. (Interpressnews)

European Court for Human Rights to hold chamber hearing of Georgia v. Russia case

On 26 March 2007 the Georgian authorities lodged with the European Court of Human Rights’s Registry an application against the Russian Federation under Article 33 (Inter-State cases) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The application concerns events which allegedly followed the arrest in Tbilisi (Georgia) on 27 September 2006 of four Russian service personnel on suspicion of espionage. On 4 October 2006 the four servicemen were released by an executive act of clemency, but eleven Georgian nationals were subsequently arrested in Russia on the same charges.

The applicant Government (Georgia) maintains that the reaction of the Russian authorities to this incident amounts to an administrative practice of the official authorities giving rise to specific and continuing breaches of the Convention and its Protocols under the following provisions: Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment), Article 5 (right to liberty), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), Article 18 (limitation on the use of restrictions on rights) of the Convention; Articles 1 (protection of property) and 2 (right to education) of Protocol No. 1; Article 4 (prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens) of Protocol No. 4 and Article 1 (procedural safeguards relating to expulsion of aliens) of Protocol No. 7.

These breaches are said to derive from alleged harassment of the Georgian immigrant population in the Russian Federation, in particular through widespread arrests and detention generating a generalised threat to the security of the person and multiple interferences with the right to liberty on arbitrary grounds. The Georgian Government also complains of the conditions in which “at least 2,380 Georgians” had been detained. They assert that the collective expulsion of Georgians from the Russian Federation involved a systematic and arbitrary interference with these persons’ legitimate right to remain in Russia – a right duly evidenced by regular documents – as well as with the requirements of due process and the statutory appeal process. In addition, closing the land, air and maritime border between the Russian Federation and Georgia, thereby interrupting all postal communication, allegedly frustrated access to remedies for the persons affected.

Interfax reports that the Georgian claim is called ‘baseless’ in Moscow and the application is assessed as being designed to spoil relations with Russia. “Georgia must well understand that the next unfriendly step towards Russia is bad news for bilateral relations,” an announcement of the Russian Foreign Ministry states. (Interpressnews)