Shalva Tadumadze Dmands Restriction of Freedom of Expression of the Director of a Civil Society Organization
Former Prosecutor General of Georgia and Supreme Court Judge Shalva Tadumadze has lodged a complaint against Transparency International Georgia’s Executive Director Eka Gigauri for slander over the comments on his diploma. Tadumadze has requested the court to impose preventative measures to restrict the freedom of expression of Eka Gigauri.
Tadumadze is disputing the comments made by Eka Gigauri on Formula TV, where she has questioned the compliance of Tadumadze's diploma with the qualification requirements for a Supreme Court judge.
Eka Gigauri has already filed the counterclaim and the dispute continues at the court. Her interests are represented by the law firm BLB, headed by the former Tbilisi Prosecutor Maia Mtsariashvili.
Tadumadze’s complaint is ungrounded beyond criticism:
- Against Gigauri’s statement and as a verification of the authenticity of his diploma and the relevant academic degree, he has submitted his autobiography, which at the time is publicly available on the web-page of the Supreme Court.
- The complaint is not accompanied by any circumstantial evidence or document that would give the public a firm belief in the authenticity of his diploma.
- According to Shalva Tadumadze, the confidence twice declared in him by the ruling party, on the basis of which he was first elected Prosecutor General and then a judge of the Supreme Court, is sufficient evidence to prove the authenticity of his diploma.
The preventative measure requested by Tadumadze is unprecedented:
- He has requested that the court ban Eka Gigauri from publicly speaking on the authenticity of his diploma;
- The first instance court did not uphold this request and provided explanation to the judge of the Supreme Court, Shalva Tadumadze, that granting his motion would be a gross interference with fundamental constitutional rights.
In light of the abovementioned, the claim, which in fact concerns the restriction of freedom of expression for a civil society organization, is legally and factually completely ungrounded and unsubstantiated. It contradicts the standards set by both national and international laws. Unfortunately, it should be noted that this is not the first such case, the Georgian court has previously restricted the freedom of expression for civil society organizations. We believe that if this claim is upheld, the standard of protection of freedom of speech and expression in the country will be even more endangered.
Taking into account the high public interest in the issue, Transparency International Georgia will periodically publish all important procedural documents submitted by the parties in this dispute and relevant court decisions.