"Rustavi 2" requests recusal of the representative of Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights, Lado Chanturia. The statement has been made at the special briefing held by the Director General of the broadcasting company. According to Gvaramia, Chanturia receives instructions from the government on how to act on the Rustavi2 case.
The broadcasting company does not question the competence and impartiality of the judges of the European Court, but has doubts regarding the impartiality of the Georgian representative; therefore, Rustavi 2 calls on his recusal.
"Thank you for coming and paying attention to our channel. I"ll briefly touch upon what happened today. Today the partners` meeting has been held. We have made very important decisions. Of course, the claims [Nizharadze’s claim] are absolutely absurd. They have been answered by both the management and other owners of the TV company and you can watch the meeting of the partners uploaded on the website of Rustavi 2, but this is not the reason for our meeting today. We said from the very beginning that the claim that was filed [Nizharadze’s claim] was absurd and had specific goals; however, the latest information that we have received from high government circles made significant changes to our agenda.
"We have reliable information that the representative of Georgia, the judge in the Strasbourg court, Mr. Lado Chanturia, has communication with the Georgian authorities and receives instructions from the Government on how to act on Rustavi2 case and the orchestrated planning of the details related to the case is going on. The claim, which has been filed [Nizharadze’s claim] in the court, serves exactly this purpose and is a part of this scheme. The scheme, which is set up with the participation of the representative of Georgia in Strasbourg. And why, I will tell you right now.
"A few days ago, according to the information leaked in the Government, and to be more precise, the information that Lado Chanturia provided to the Ministry of Justice, the discussion of the draft judgment on Rustavi 2 case was held by the Strasbourg Court section. The draft was disapproved and returned to the rapporteur with some remarks. This information is precisely known to us and we know this information from the sources in the Ministry of Justice, while the Ministry of Justice received this information from Mr. Chanturia, which is a gross violation of judicial ethics and a flagrant violation of the regulations of the Strasbourg Court. On this ground, we request the recusal of Mr. Lado Chanturia and we think that this case should be decided without his involvement.
"The European Convention has established that the basis for the recusal of a judge is not only his documented impartiality but the case when he does not look impartial in the eyes of the neutral society. Lado Chanturia for Rustavi2 and all the viewers who support Rustavi2 does not look sufficiently impartial. Therefore, we request his recusal, including on the basis of the information that I have just provided.
"For several months, the information has been circulating that the Government will win this case. We have kept silent up to now because we respected the court and did not want to follow these speculations, but now we have confirmed information about the concerted activity of Mr. Chanturia and the Georgian government, including coordination and exchange of instructions.
"The main work, which Mr. Chanturia is carrying out in the Court regards the interim measures. The main task is to lift the interim measures, in as much as, otherwise, defeating the partners in other directions, we personally deem as absolutely impossible. In order to lift interim measures, it is necessary to carry out certain actions with regard to Rustavi2’s applications. Mr. Chanturia is working in this direction in agreement with the Government and, in addition, the claim [Nizharadze’s claim] that we have talked about, is a part of this scheme, the claim [Nizharadze’s claim] which does not make sense, but is provided as a ground by the Georgian representative judge, as if the company [Rustavi 2] is facing bankruptcy and if the interim measures are not lifted, the company will go bankrupt and will not survive, and look, one of the partners [Nizharadze] also requires it. Again, we say the scheme is planned by the Government, the part of which, unfortunately, is the Strasbourg Court judge, in particular, the representative of Georgia in the Strasbourg court.
"We want to draw attention, draw the attention of everyone, both inside and outside of the country to the following. In this situation, if the interim measure is lifted before the fair court decides on the Rustavi2 case, not only Rustavi 2 will be closed, but the country under the name of Georgia will be closed as well, and democracy will no longer exist in this country. It will be a major achievement against us that the Government wants, the Government which has done everything to shut down Rustavi 2 but was unable to do it, and if it manages to do this with the hands of the European Court of Human Rights, it will be very sad for us, for this country, as well as, I think, for the European Court.
"We have absolutely no doubt in the competence and impartiality of the European Court of Human Rights; however, we have doubts regarding the impartiality of the Georgian representative in the European Court; therefore, Rustavi 2 requests his recusal. We will not allow the closure of Rustavi2 in this country, as the only and most important source of democracy, and we will not leave this country in the hands of the oligarchic, anti-democratic, autocratic regime. We will use any means for this, including exposing the Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, about whom we have reliable information, "Nika Gvaramia said.