Georgia: Tbilisi Pride July 5 Violence Claim Admitted to European Court of Justice
July 5 violence claim accepted by ECtHR in Tbilisi
According to the Georgian Democratic Initiative (GDI), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) accepted the GDI complaint in the Tbilisi Pride case concerning July 5, 2021 violence. The court also noted that the case could have precedent value.
The plaintiffs claim that due to the inaction of the government and the ineffective response of law enforcement agencies, the rights of citizens guaranteed by the European Convention were violated. Namely Article 3 (Prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment), Article 11 (Freedom of assembly), Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination).
According to the organization, the court communicated the case to all counts, which means that the Georgian government is obliged by October 13, 2022 to answer the questions asked by the court on all issues raised in the complaint:
“In particular, the court is interested in whether the statements of members of the government contributed to the violence that broke out on July 5, 2021, and to what extent the state fulfilled its obligations to prevent it and effectively investigate it”.
It is worth noting that the court granted the GDI’s petition and ordered the government to submit the July 5 security plan and internal materials related to the security planning carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs prior to the disputed events (July 1 and 5, 2021).
Today, more than a year after the violent events, the Tbilisi City Court has completed its trial of cases related to July 5, although none of the organizers of the riots has been brought to justice, and the perpetrators have received minimal sanctions or fines.
What happened on July 5, 2021
On July 5, a March of Digity was scheduled to take place in Tbilisi as part of Tbilisi Pride Week. The procession to the Rustaveli metro station was scheduled for 18:00. However, the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church soon announced its own counter rally. She called on her supporters to take to the streets and defend the country from a “perverted lifestyle”.
On the morning of July 5, homophobic groups marched to the parliament. First, they smashed opposition tents that had been standing in front of the parliament building for months, and then attacked journalists who were covering the events. On July 5, a real hunt for journalists took place in Tbilisi – radicals attacked 53 media representatives.
The priests urged the audience to violence. “You are obliged to use violence for the sake of the Motherland”, Archibishop Spiridon told the audience.
Observers believe the attackers’ actions were provoked by Prime Minister Garibashvili’s July 5 statement. He blamed the possible aggravation of the situation not on the participants of the violent far right groups, but on the organizers of the March of Dignity and urged them not to go to Rustaveli Avenue.
The March of Dignity was cancelled, but the violence on Rustaveli Avenue continued for several more hours. According to journalists, an insufficient number of police officers were mobilized on the spot during the day. The interior minister said that the maximum possible many security forces as possible were mobilized.
According to media representatives, homophobes purposefully attacked them. Some journalists required serious medical intervention.