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During the review of the bill on the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia at the plenary session of the Parliament on 17 May 2013, Davit Usupashvili, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, made the following statement: “During this period, I have not seen any specific proposals from our opponents regarding this bill, starting from the committee hearings until today. We are legislators, laws are written on paper and any proposal or offer should be submitted in this form.”

According to the amendment to the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia, administrative fine in the amount of GEL 400 will be imposed on a foreign citizen or a person without citizenship for entering the occupied territory from a prohibited direction for the first time; criminal liability shall be imposed if the person commits the same crime again.

Under the current legislation, illegal crossing of the controlled and uncontrolled state border entails criminal liability [either a fine or imprisonment]. Illegal state border crossing is regulated by Article 344 and Article 322 under the Criminal Code as well as the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia.

The Parliamentary Minority is opposing the bill. According to Minority Members, this amendment establishes different state border regimes.

FactCheck

wanted to figure out if the Parliamentary Minority offered any recommendations regarding the proposed amendments to the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia or any kind of specific proposal. We decided to check this out.

We contacted the Office of the Legal Issues Committee at the Parliament. They told us that the Parliamentary Minority has not filed any specific proposal [letter] to the Office of the Committee regarding the draft Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia. The Legal Issues Committee added that the recommendations regarding the proposed amendments to the Law might have been submitted to the Defence and Security Committee.

We also contacted the Office of the Defence and Security Committee. Based on the information they provided, the Parliamentary Minority has not submitted any recommendations or proposals regarding the bill.

During discussions about the bill on the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia at the plenary session on 17 May, the Parliamentary Minority offered alternative amendments to the government before Davit Usupashvili made his statement about this issue. The proposed amendments by the Parliamentary Minority offered a uniform mechanism for regulating the state border: illegal crossing of the whole perimeter around the state border for the first time should entail criminal penalty and, in the case of committing the same crime again, the imposed sanction should be imprisonment. This proposal was mentioned several times by the Parliamentary Minority during the discussion about the bill.

Conclusion FactCheck

found out that the Parliamentary Minority has not submitted any recommendations or alternative proposals to the Parliament in written form regarding the amendments to the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia. However, the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia did not draw attention to one element in his statement; namely, the Parliamentary Minority had offered alternative amendments to the Parliamentary Majority during a discussion about proposals at the plenary session which took place before Davit Usupashvili made the statement. This proposal was presented verbally, although it contained a specific message: illegal crossing of the state border of the occupied territories for the first time should entail criminal penalty; this would enable the state to maintain a uniform regime for the entire perimeter around the border.

Correspondingly, we rate the statement made by Davit Usupashvili that the Parliamentary Minority has not submitted any specific proposals in written form to the Parliament regarding the bill on the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia,  MOSTLY TRUE.

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