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Georgia: Constitutional Court Rules Against Part of De-Communization Law

(Nov. 23, 2015) On October 28, 2015, the Constitutional Court of Georgia declared unconstitutional and void several provisions of article 9 of the Freedom Charter, which had permanently banned former senior Soviet officials from holding important public offices with central and regional government, judiciary, police, military, and academia. (Constitutional Court of Georgia, Nodar Mumlauri v. Parliament of Georgia, Ruling No. 2/5/60 of October 28, 2015, MATSNE.GOV.GE (government law portal) (Nov. 17, 2015)  (in Georgian); Freedom Charter, Law of Georgia No. 147 of May 31, 2011, MATSNE.GOV.GE (June 22, 2011) (in Georgian).)

The plaintiff, Nodar Mumlauri, had been a leader of Georgia’s Communist Youth League during the Soviet period and later worked as the party secretary of Telavi District, one of the country’s administrative units. In June 2013, he ran for the office of Telavi District governor but was removed from the ballot and later told thatthe Freedom Charter mandated his exclusion.  (Constitutional Court of Georgia Permitted Former Soviet Bureaucrats to Occupy State Offices, GEORGIA ONLINE (Nov. 3, 2015) (in Russian).) The Constitutional Court agreed with the plaintiff that the permanent ban on select professional activities violates article 17 of the Georgian Constitution, which protects Georgian citizens’ right to honor and dignity.  (Constitution of Georgia (Aug. 24, 1995, as last amended Oct. 4, 2013), MATSNE.GOV.GE.)

The Freedom Charter was enacted in 2011 and outlawed the display of Soviet symbols (art. 7), introduced anti-terrorist measures (arts. 4-6), and established a system of lustration (arts. 8-11) that permanently barred former senior Soviet officials and Georgian citizens who had collaborated with Soviet special intelligence services from holding important public offices, without, however, publishing their names. (Peter Roudik, Georgia: Ban on Soviet Symbols Proposed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Dec. 8, 2010).) Reportedly, these restrictions affected about 100,000 people, of whom only 15,000 are still alive.  (Ban on Public Service for Former Party Officials Is Lifted in Georgia, VZGLIAD (Nov. 3, 2015) (in Russian).)

Prepared by Nerses Isajanyan, Foreign Law Consultant, under the supervision of Peter Roudik, Director of Legal Research.