Presenting the yearly report of the Legal Committee at the plenary session of 4 September 2013, Vakhtang Khmaladze, member of the Parliamentary Majority, stated: “For the first time in many years the Parliament acknowledged the legitimacy of numerous constitutional appeals which resulted in relevant decisions of the Constitutional Court.”FactCheck
took interest in the statement and inquired about its accuracy.
Constitutional legal proceedings in Georgia are conducted on the basis of the equality of parties before the Constitution and the Court and an adversarial nature of the proceedings. The consideration of the merits of a case begins with the delivery of a report on the case by the judge rapporteur, a member of the Constitutional Court. After having heard the report, the Constitutional Court hears the claimant’s explanations first and then those of the respondent. Subsequently, the Constitutional Court hears the testimonies of witnesses, experts and specialists and renders open to the public the written evidence on the case-file and adduced by the participants to the consideration of the case. After having examined all of the evidence on the case-file, the Constitutional Court hears the concluding submissions of the participants to the case and retires to the deliberation room. After the judgment or conclusion of the Constitutional Court is signed by the members of the Constitutional Court participating in the consideration of the case, the President of the sitting delivers the judgment or conclusion in the courtroom.
A total of 542 appeals have been submitted to the Constitutional Court since 1996. In 388 of these, the Parliament of Georgia came out as the respondentwhile the Constitutional Court considered the merits of 78 cases.
In order to establish what amount of appeals had been recognised by the Parliament from those submitted to the Constitutional Court prior to and in the aftermath of 20 October 2012, we requested public information from the Constitutional Court. The letter received by us within the timeframe prescribed by the law reads:
“Pursuant to Article 13 Paragraph 5 of the Georgian Law on Constitutional Proceeding, a respondent shall be entitled to recognise the claim fully or partially at any stage of the constitutional legal proceedings. Recognition of the claim by a respondent shall not result in the termination of the case before the Constitutional Court. In accordance with Article 1 Paragraph 3 of the same law the respondent enjoys the right to object or rebut the claims.”
The letterlists threecases from the recent practice of the Constitutional Court in which the Parliament of Georgia recognised constitutional appeals:
- 11.06.2013 - №534 – Georgian citizen Tristan Mamagulashvili against the Parliament of Georgia.
- 11.16.2013 - № 516-542 – Georgian citizens Aleksandre Baramidze, Lasha Tugushi, Vakhtang Khmaladze and Vakhtang Maisaia against the Parliament of Georgia.
- 3.10.04.13 -№ 524 – Georgian citizen Giorgi Gachechiladze against the Parliament of Georgia.
We furthered our research by the means of the search engine for Constitutional Court judgements and explored the cases in which the respondent’s side was represented by the Parliament of Georgia. Our research revealed that the Parliament of Georgia had not recognised a single appeal submitted against it in the period from 1996 to 20 October 2012.
As shown above, three constitutional appeals have been recognised by the Parliament of Georgia since 20 October 2012 while no such case had taken place prior to that.Accordingly, we conclude that Vakhtang Khmaladze’s statement: “For the first time in many years the Parliament acknowledged the legitimacy of numerous constitutional appeals which resulted in relevant decisions of the constitutional court,” is TRUE.