Human Rights in the Republic of Georgia

Diploma Work


Prepared by
Zurab Vanishvili <>
Mr. Levan Aleksidze, Ph.D.

Prepared for:
International Law and International Relations Department
Tbilisi State University
1 Chavchavadze Street., Tbilisi,
Republic of Georgia
June, 1993 - May, 1994

P a r t I

The roots of human rights law are very deep. In the earliest human
societies, what we call the law of the jungle generally prevailed. 

But the History was going on... A number of institutions of the
contemporary human rights law already obtained in antiquity. Among the
institutions, developed in ancient Greece were that of proxenoi, who were
entrusted with the protection of the interests of foreign citizens and
represented them before administrative and judicial and religious
authorities of the city. They exercised the functions of the contemporary
consuls and enjoyed certain immunities. 
In ancient China the institution of Li was developed, constituting moral
and legal rules similar to the contemporary rules of International Law.
Among the important rules were those relating to the treatment of envoys
of a sovereign The arrest or murder of envoys were condemned as contrary
to the Li. 

Hammurabi, king of Babylon, proclaimed the famous code, which bears his
name, beginning with the words:"I established these laws to prevent the
strong from oppressing the weak". 

In ancient India International Law was practiced.It operated in the Vedic
Age between tribal heads known as Rajahs. Hindu International Law applied
irrespective of religion and civilization.This was despite the fact that
the basis of International Law in India was religious teachings like
Manu`s Dharam Shastras. 
In 1367 BC, Bahmani and Vijayanagar kings entered into an agreement for
the humane treatment of prisoners of war. 
Chritian religion had proclaimed that men where created in the image of
the God, that all were children of the same Father. If all men were
brothers, to kill was a crime and there would be no more slaves. This
concept was so revolutionary that it shook the foundations of ancient
A special position was granted to individual in Islamic Law, as
exemplified by the words of the Koran: "We have given dignity to the human
being". In accordance with the Fickh-the Testament of Mohammed,"all
persons enjoy the same rights". 
Hugo Grotius, the father of the International Law, laid down the main
principles of International Law. He also declared that International Law
governed not only the relations between States, but the relations between
State and individual. 
The History of International Law during the two centuries after Grotius is
marked by the evolution of the Modern State system in Europe, a process
greatly influenced by the Treaty of Peace of Westphalia of 1648. 
The Congress of Vienna of 1815 established a modern scheme of diplomatic
representations, made certain provisions concerning free navigation on
International Rivers and denounced the slave trade. At the Berlin
Conference in 1884 the participant Powers provided for freedom of commerce
and prohibited the slave trade. 
The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 between the Allied and Associated Powers
and Germany was most significant instrument concluded at the End of the
First World War. Part One of the Treaty (articles 1-26) established the
League of Nations. At the Peace Conference, when the Covenant of the
League of Nations was being considered, the question of minority
protection arose. 

Subsequently, a number of treaties were concluded by which the protection
of minorities was internationalized.In addition to this treaties, certain
states were obliged to declare their readiness to protect minorities,
living within their borders as a prerequisite for their admission to the
...In accordance with the Act of Independence of Georgia, which was
declared in May, 26, 1918, "the Georgian Democratic Republic equally
guarantees to every citizen within her limits, political rights
irrespective of nationality, creed, social rank or sex". The separate
chapter of the Constitution of Georgian Democratic Republic was devoted to
the rights of National minorities. According to the article 131, no one
belonging to national minorities, simply by virtue of belonging to such a
minority, would be subject to penal or administrative sanctions. Persons
belonging to national minorities enjoyed access to adequate types and
levels of education in their mother tongue. 
The most significant step taken by the League of Nations to guarantee the
observance of human rights of persons belonging to national minorities was
the establishment of the right of petition in favor of minorities. The
right to address a petition to the Council was granted to individuals or
associations acting on behalf of minority groups. Such right was also
granted to citizens of Georgian Democratic Republic. 

A new epoch for the individual, the protection of his human rights, and
the evolution of contemporary International Law started after the Second
World War and is still continuing today. The main reasons for historic
development were the horrors of the Second World War, the decay of the
European Empires, the independence of a great number of former colonies
and the liberation of hundreds of millions of peoples from colonial

                    P a r t   II

The United Nations is engaged in a wide range of activities aimed at
fulfilling one of its principal purposes - the promotion and protection of
human rights. Of great importance is the complex machinery which has been
set up under various international covenants and conventions to establish
standards, monitor implementation and investigate violations of human
rights.  In addition to this activities, the UN also provides practical
assistance to states in their efforts to protect and promote human rights
and informs the public about the right it is granted with. 
These activities give the UN the possibility to have the leading position
in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, one
organization can never hope to keep an eye on every situation. Neither can
it investigate every alleged violation of human rights, or bring relief to
all victims. 
For this reasons, the International system relies heavily on the support
it receives from regional human rights systems. Support also comes from
Governments and from non-governmental organizations. And each of this
groups has a special role to play in the development of a universal
culture of human rights. Non-governmental organizations, for example, by
their very nature, have a freedom of expression, a liberty of movement,
and a flexibility of action which allow them to perform tasks, which
Governments and international organizations are unable or may even be
unwilling to perform. 
The role of national Governments in the realization of human rights is
particularly important. Human rights involve relationship among
individuals, and between individuals and the state. Therefore, each state
must be responsible for the practical task of protecting and promoting
human rights. At the national level, human rights can be best protected
through adequate legislation, an independent judiciary and the
establishment of democratic institutions.
When states ratify a human rights instrument, they either incorporate its
provisions directly into their domestic legislation. Therefore, universal
human rights standards and norms today find their expression in the
domestic laws of the great number of countries. However, the existence of
laws concerned is not enough if these laws do not also provide the
institutions necessary to ensure their effective realization. The majority
of existing national institutions can be grouped together in two
categories: "human rights commissions" and "ombudsman"... 

The end of the Cold War and emergence or re-emergence of democratic rule
in many countries has focused attention on the importance of democratic
institutions and this process is still continuing today. 

                         P a r t   III
The establishment of effective machinery for protecting human rights is a
permanent task of the whole international community. As society changes
and develops, so the existing human rights machinery will be called upon
to face new challenges. I am aware that the Georgian human rights system
must constantly be improved in order to offer effective protection to
individuals in Georgia.
Three years ago Georgia became full, equal and sovereign member of the
International community. But in spite of the fact that Georgia looks with
favor on democracy, stability, peace, market economy and the rule of law,
and the democratic institutions are being consolidated, some difficulties
of objective and subjective character make these aims unattainable. 
The political freedom, plurality and the idea of market economy were
welcomed by the whole population of Georgia. If this business fails, our
society will not be in a position to transform itself into the society of
free individuals and the steps to the authoritarian type of governance
will be done. Such failure will give rise to new fleets of refugees,
internally displaced persons, migrants, great number of tragedies and

Under the rules of dialectics, the political process and economic
development are indivisible. They are equally important and have to
develop in parallels. But the elaboration of the effective economic policy
needs the political stability, and change for the worse of economic
situation , in its turn, may lead the society to the non-stability in the
state. And in more general sense,the inner relation of human rights to
economic development and security becomes more and more obvious. It also
should be stressed that there can be no stable development or peace where
human rights are violated, just like these rights can`t be insured if
there is no peace. 
Presence of the really democratic system and achievement of the high
living standard are not the sufficient illustration of respect the human
rights and fundamental freedoms. Despite of the fact, that the Western
democracies stress the importance of the implementation of the human
rights law, there are a lot of examples of Violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms.  The presence of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, mass
unemployment in the Western democracies is the striking illustration of. 
The other question is that Europe is not guaranteed from all that either,
as has been demonstrated not only by the Yugoslav tragedy, the Gulf
crisis, but also by burning of Turkish women alive in the German city of
I consider that questions relating to human rights, can be only be
satisfactorily resolved in a democratic political framework based on the
rule of law. I also consider that human rights policy in our state must be
stable and single-minded, provided with appropriate legal regulation. 
The end of the Cold War and the crisis of the world socialist system
conditioned fall of the living standard in a great number of the newly
independent states, but these unfavorable circumstances must lead us not
into error. At any rate, a negative experience is also an experience... 
Observance of civil rights and those of political may be guaranteed in
aforementioned states, including Georgia, if there is a resoluteness of
governments of states concerned to perfect their domestic legal
instruments, mechanisms and means of legal regulation, which are based on
the constitutional basis. 
However, it seems the constitutional provisions can not be the sufficient
guarantees of the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Respect for them depends on the appropriate legislation and infrastructure
I consider that the Georgian state policy on human rights must proceed in
three basic directions: 
                        1) political
                             2) legal
                                   3) institutional

                         P a r t   IV


1. To determine and to work out the middle-term and long term
International strategy; to define the priorities of the foreign policy; to
harmonize relations with our traditional partners

2. To put out the exchange of information and of experience with the
states being on the stage of democratic remaking of society

3. To popularize the International human rights standards, to disseminate
the information concerning the infrastructure providing promotion and
protection of universally recognized human rights at national and
international levels, i.e. about the international machinery for the
protection of human rights, and about the procedures provided by the
International law when fundamental human rights are being violated

4. It is considered necessary to use widely the mass communication media,
such as radio, TV, newspapers and magazines to the greatest possible
extent for constant campaigning on issues related to the protection of
human rights, in order to provide incorporation of questions, related to
the human rights problems, into the ordinary legal consciousness of public
and to give new impetus to the further rising of the scientific and
professional consciousness of

5. To provide the energetic participation of human rights bodies in
 activities of the legislative, executive and judicial bodies at local and 
national levels, and also in all stages of the legal adjustment

6. International treaties, other inter governmental instruments relating
to the protection and promotion of human rights must be ratified in order
to become municipal law and to be applied by the competent authorities as
substantive law

7. To introduce the simplified regime for the incorporation of the
International human rights law provisions into the municipal law

8. To codify the legislation in force in order to provide the qualitative
change of the legislature`s approach to the problem of effective
implementation of the UN and CSCE commitments relating to the human rights

9. To lay down the foundation of the administrative justice

10. Taking into account the fact, that the petition system represents a
considerable advance over any other system of implementation, it is
necessary duly to ratify International Covenant on Civil and political
rights and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant in order to
give citizens of Georgia the possibility to seek international judicial
review of alleged violations of their human rights, once domestic legal
remedies have been exhausted, i.e. to recognize the competence of the
Human Rights Committee to receive and consider communications from
citizens of the Republic of Georgia

11. To create the National Commission on Human Rights (Commission)- the
independent state agency, which shall have the power to stop completely or
partially affect of any normative legal act which violates any right
recognized by the Constitution of Georgia

12. To create the National Council on Prevention of the Human Rights
Violations (Council), which shall have the power to give instructions to
the state officials in connection with any separate violation of human
rights The coordinative function of the Council may be exercised without
the formal right to give directives. The Council shall be consisted of the
chairman (or Ombudsman), Prime minister, Minister of Internal affairs,
Procurator-general, qualified experts from the Tbilisi State University,
representatives of non-governmental organizations responsible for human

13. To provide the needy people with free judicial and legal defense

14. To establish the scientific-research institute of human rights for the
theoretical investigations in the field of legal regulation, collection
and investigation of information concerning human rights issues and
theoretical modeling of the state human rights policy

15. To create the informative service on human rights aimed at fulfilling
one of its principal purposes - the informative-consultation service of
individuals seeking international judicial review of alleged violations of
their human rights, once domestic legal remedies have been exhausted

16. To establish the special library on human rights

17. Human rights must be the required subject in high schools

                         A n n e x


      Desirability and feasibility of establishing a Commission

1 The question of the possible establishment of appropriate human rights
institutions has a long history and the desire for the legal reform in
this sphere has increased in modern times. 

2 It has been demonstrated that the existing human rights protection
system did not work very well and that it was a source of conflicts of
various character. Recent years events in Apkhazeti (Abkhazia) and in
Tskhinvali region have clearly shown, that there was a gap to be filled

3 The most appropriate manner to establish a Commission will be by means
of a legislative act, which also defines the functions and powers of a
Commission. It will ensure a stable mandate for the members of a
Commission, as well as their real independence. 

4 Besides having legal and humanitarian importance, the establishment of
the National Commission on Human Rights shall be of great political
importance. It shall significantly contribute towards stopping and
resolving of conflicts in the Republic of Georgia. 

Structural and jurisdictional issues

5 Establishing the Commission, we must proceed from the assumption that it
is subordinated only to the Constitution of Georgia

6 The right to appeal to such body supposes the observance of the
following criteria: 

                    a) this institution is independent of the government;

                    b) it is not the subject to financial control

7 The clerical work in the National Commission must be independent of the
Council of Ministers. Otherwise its decisions shall not have a prestige
even in governmental circles. 

8 The very function of the Commission`s decisions shall be a realization
of legal norms, concerning protection of human rights.

9 The Commission shall have the right to stop completely or partially
affect of any law in force which violates the human rights law recognized
by the Constitution. 

10 The presence of the aforementioned competence shall provide the
effectiveness of the legal regulation. Even the existence of such
institution ipso facto shall give the positive effect. 

11 The membership of the Commission shall be restricted by educational and
age qualifications. 

12 The precise limits of the Commission`s competence must be established. 

13 If the Constitutional Court is established, their competence must be
duly delimited. 

14 The members of the Commission shall have the access to the documents of
all relevant public authorities. 

15 Establishing the Commission, the solution of the following question
shall be of great importance: 
                                -Which method of regulation-civil or 
                                 administrative is acceptable for the 
                                 present instance? 

16 The Commission shall have the right to examine the legislation in force
and administrative provisions and to issue appropriate recommendations. 


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