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HOME > NEWS > The statement of the Georgian Bar Association concerning the demand of the Ministry of Finance Investigation Bureau on lawyers to testify as witnesses

The statement of the Georgian Bar Association concerning the demand of the Ministry of Finance Investigation Bureau on lawyers to testify as witnesses

The statement of the Georgian Bar Association concerning the demand of the Ministry of Finance Investigation Bureau on lawyers to testify as witnesses

We are disturbed by the fact that the lawyers –Lia Bitadze, Pikria Makharadze and Tea Zautashvili were called as witnesses before the Ministry of Finance Investigation Bureau. We have been informed that within the framework of the particular criminal case investigation, the lawyers are allegedly the subject to pressure. There is an attempt of making the lawyers to testify about their cases and there is the possible interference in their professional activities.

Based on the information provided to us, the pressure is allegedly exercised on the lawyer’s former clients for the purpose of putting pressure on lawyers to obtain the accusing testimony. We would like to remind the authorities that it is prohibited to testify the lawyer as a witness on the case where she/he has been a lawyer (Art.38-3 of the Law on Advocates and art.50 of the Georgian Code on Criminal Proceedings). Moreover, any type of information obtained by a lawyer while performing his/her professional functions is confidential(art. 38 -6 of the Law on Advocates and art. 4 of the Code of Lawyer’s Ethics).

In addition to this, under the article 16, the United Nations basic  Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the governments have a positive obligation to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation,hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

We call the Prosecutor’s Office to put this case under scrutiny and to properly investigate all the possible violations in order to ensure that the lawyers are able to perform their professional functions without any kind of pressure or illegal interference.