Georgia

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Georgia is a sovereign state in the South Caucasus region. Its form of government is that of a presidential republic. Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union on 9 April 1991. Its current Constitution was adopted on 17 October 1995.

Territorially, Georgia is divided into 9 regions, 9 cities and 2 autonomous republics. The territorial state structure of Georgia is determined by the Constitutional Law. In accordance with Article 3 of the Constitution, the central government has exclusive competence in a number of areas, including the following: (a) legislation on Georgian citizenship, human rights and freedoms, migration, status of aliens; (b) the status, boundary regime and defense of the state frontiers; (c) state defense and national security; (d) the issues of war and peace, the determination of a legal regime of the state of emergency and the martial law and their introduction; (e) foreign policy and international relations; (f) foreign trade, customs and tariff regimes; (g) state finances and state loan; issuing money; legislation on banking, credit, insurance and taxes; (h) unified energy system and communications; (i) criminal, civil, administrative and labor legislation; (k)criminal police and investigation; and a number of others.

Executive branch. The Chief of State of Georgia is the President, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President is also head of government for the power ministries, i.e. state security (includes interior) and defense. The Prime Minister is head of government for the remaining government ministries.

Legislative branch. The legislative branch is represented by the unicameral Parliament or Umaghiesi Sabcho (235 seats - 150 elected by party lists). Its members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. Article 48 of the Constitution provides that "[t]he Parliament of Georgia shall be the supreme representative body of the country, which shall exercise legislative power, determine the principle directions of domestic and foreign policy, exercise control over the activity of the Government within the framework determined by the Constitution and discharge other powers."

Article 60 of the Constitution stipulates the public nature of the parliamentary sessions, meanwhile allowing to declare a particular session or a part thereof closed by a decision of the majority of MPs. The Constitution also provides that "the minutes of the Parliament, except for secret matters, shall be published in the official gazette of the Parliament."

Judicial branch. The judicial branch is represented by the Supreme Court (judges elected by the Supreme Council on the president's recommendation); Constitutional Court; first and second instance courts. The establishment of emergency or special courts in expressly prohibited by the Constitution (Art. 83). Courts martial are permitted at war and exclusively within the system of the courts of general jurisdiction.

A petition to the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of the an act can be lodged by a citizen, if the act violates human rights as proclaimed by Chapter 2 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court is entitled to decide on the constitutionality of laws, presidential decrees, acts of the supreme bodies of the autonomous entities, the creation and the activity of political parties, and elections and referenda.

ODIHR Legal Reviews, Assessments

Variety of useful resources and tools prepared by ODIHR to support legal reform in OSCE participating States. It includes legal reviews of draft and exisiting national legislation and assessments of legislative process.

Opinions

2022-02-18

The reorganization of independent institutions or oversight mechanisms is something which countries may need to enter into from time to time and is a legitimate subject for legislation. However, in view of the fundamental importance of these independent institutions to the rule of law, great care must be taken to ensure that any such reorganisation is compatible with well-established international standards.

ODIHR considers it highly problematic that, contrary to international standards, amendments to the law on the State Inspector’s Service were rushed through the parliament of Georgia without consultation, resulting in the abolition of the institution of the State Inspector and the premature dismissal of the incumbent from office. Cumulatively, the process and the legislative changes may impact protection from serious human rights abuses. Further, a number of features in the amended Laws raise concern, as well as missed opportunities for strengthening the institution that should be considered in any subsequent amendment process.

2021-03-21

OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission, in their joint opinion, analyzed draft legislation that would deprive political parties of public funding and, consequently, of airtime during elections in cases where Members of Parliament refuse to take up their mandates after elections and where parties boycott the majority parliamentary sittings in one session. Further, in the latter instance, the draft also proposes to deprive Members of Parliament of their full salaries for a month. The joint opinion noted that lengthy boycotts of parliamentary sessions by political parties and their Members of Parliament could affect the right to political participation of the people. However, depriving political parties of funding and airtime, and their MPs of a full one month’s salary in response to such actions would constitute unduly invasive, excessive and disproportionate measures. As noted in the joint opinion, participating in parliamentary activities is an important cornerstone of the work of political parties in parliament but is not the only purpose of political parties, which is why the proposed legislative measures are neither necessary nor proportionate in order to ensure the proper functioning of the Parliament. For this reason, the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission recommended that the Parliament of Georgia reconsider adopting the proposed amendments.

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Legislation

Constitution

Variety of useful resources and tools prepared by ODIHR to support legal reform in OSCE participating States. It includes legal reviews of draft and exisiting national legislation and assessments of legislative process.

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Legislation

Criminal codes

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Legislation

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National legislative acts on a range of human dimension issues. It offers access to full-text documents, as well as summaries of and excerpts from national constitutions, primary and secondary legislation and case-law from across the OSCE region.

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International standards

National legislative acts on a range of human dimension issues. It offers access to full-text documents, as well as summaries of and excerpts from national constitutions, primary and secondary legislation and case-law from across the OSCE region.

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