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Parliament says two Constitutional Court judges may be partial to Rustavi 2

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 11
The Parliament of Georgia has addressed the Constitutional Court of Georgia to override two of the Court’s judges, on the suspicion that the two individuals might have been allied with the temporarily-removed Director of Rustavi 2 private broadcaster, Nika Gvaramia.

The issue concerns the notorious Rustavi 2 case in which the current and former shareholders of the media outlet are disputing the ownership of the company shares.

The Tbilisi City Court has already returned 100% of shares to the former owner of Rustavi 2, Qibar Khalvashi, who claimed he was illegally deprived of his property under the previous state leadership.

The judge also appointed temporary managers of Rustavi 2.

However, it was impossible to immediately enforce the verdict, as prior to the City Court’s decision, the Constitutional Court ruled that the verdict cannot be enforced until every legal aspect of the case has been resolved.

Responding to the Constitutional Court’s decision, the parliament statement reads that the verdict might have been a product of the two judges, Konstantine Vardzelashvili and Maia Kopaleishvili.

According to the legislative body, Judge Vardzelashvili’s wife Ana Zhvania was the first Deputy Education Minister while Nika Gvaramia worked as the Minister of Education and Science. Maia Kopaleishvili worked as the Deputy Minister when Nika Gvaramia was the Minister of Justice and then the Education Minister.

The Head of Parliament’s Legal Committee, Vakhtang Khmaladze, added that Parliament’s representative did not even have a chance to participate in the process of discussing the case in the Constitutional Court, as he had not been informed over the exact time of the hearing.

Khmaladze stressed that there were doubts that the aforementioned judges might not be objective in their rulings.

“Parliament respects the Constitutional Court of Georgia and does not doubt its independence and objectivity as a constitutional agency with this motion,” says Parliament’s statement.

The judges have not yet responded to the statement. Meanwhile, Rustavi 2 lawyers have dubbed “not serious”, as according to them Gvaramia is a lawyer by profession, and he might have many acquaintances in the field.

The Constitutional Court’s Press Service announced that the judges have not yet discussed the motion.

Members of the opposition parties, the United National Movement (UNM) and the Free Democrats (FD), have not signed Parliament’s appeal as they do not share the majority’s position.

The Constitutional Court’s board mentioned by Parliament consists of nine judges.