Chairman of Georgian Bar Association addresses the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)

17 January 2014

Dear Colleagues,

You are well informed about the condition of Georgian advocates, former president of CCBE Jose-Maria DAVO FERNANDEZ the first time expressed his deep concerns regarding lawyers’ condition in 2010 but the situation doesn’t face any improvement.

After 2010 all presidents of CCBE over their presidency devoted attention to rough violation of advocates’ rights in Georgia and appealed to Georgian government for a proper respond. Georgian Bar Association will never forget about the enormous support and help of CCBE First Vice-President Mrs. Maria SLAZAK and Chair of PECO Committee Rupert D'CRUZ who personally arrived to Georgia and hold meetings in support of Georgian lawyers’ rights in the Ministry of Justice of Georgia. Abovementioned meeting was very productive аs an institutional persecution of lawyers decreased substantially.

Let me draw your attention to some facts. On 17 December 2013 prominent advocate Dimitry Gabunia, a member of Georgian Bar Association addressed me, Chairman of GBA and paid his attention to the advisor of former Prime Minister of Georgia Mr. Gia Khukhashvili regarding the fact of hindrance of performance advocate’s professional functions.

Advocate Dimitry Gabunia claims that Mr. Gia Khukhashvili while he was appointed as economic advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia had hold meeting with advocates of two “financial entities” in order to settle dispute between them and recorded anonymously that meeting. Advocate Dimitry Gabunia states that Mr. Gia Khukhashvili threatened him as well.

On 19 December 2013 I, Chairman of GBA gave a briefing regarding the fact of violence against advocate Dimitry Gabunia committed by Mr. Gia Khukhashvili.

On 19 December 2013 during the program “Courier” through open air at 21:45 Mr. Gia Khukhashvili and I, chairman of GBA were welcomed to give comments about the abovementioned fact as recent news covered this topic and it seemed that Mr. Khukhashvili economic adviser of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili acknowledged his participation in the settlement of dispute between two “financial entities”, specifically between family of Badri Patarkacishvili and Ivane Chkhartishvili when he recorded anonymously meeting and handed it a third part.

I, Chairman of Georgian Bar Association stated in the open air that Mr. Khukhashvili confirmed the fact of possible, committed crime under the Criminal Code of Georgia.  On 30 December 2013 I officially addressed Chief Prosecutor of Georgia with demand to bring Mr. Khukhashvili to criminal responsibility. The Prosecutor’s Office has not reacted to my demand in any way.


Serious concerns raises the act of violence against advocate Romeo Sajaia committed by prosecutor Levan Bachiashvili. The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, as criminal authorities used to do, summons Corp of Lawyers’ and conducts criminal proceedings unlawfully which is an anxious fact.

On January 8, 2014 advocate Romeo Sajaia was summoned to the Prosecutor’s office in Tbilisi to conduct procedural action. In particular, prosecutor summoned Mr. Sajaia with the purpose to hand him a case materials. Romeo Sajaia arrived to the Prosecutor’s Office in Tbilisi at 15:00 to receive case materials.

At that time prosecutor Levan Bachiashvili entered a room designed for defense (on the ground floor of office). He verbally abused and insulted physically advocate Romeo Sajaia. Specifically he spitted and punched him in a face.  As a result advocate Romeo Sajaia was forced to defend himself from attacker. Mr.  Sajaia suffered from obvious injuries.

I address disgraceful Prosecutor’s Office with an appeal to start effective investigation regarding the act of violence against advocate Romeo Sajaia promptly, to seize a video footage from the place of accident (ground floor of Prosecutor’s office in Tbilisi) and bring a charge against Levan Bachiashvili.

Publicly, I address ignominious prosecutors, those who aren’t aware of “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers”, I explain that lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions. The whole civilized world recognizes and excepts “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers” adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba 27 August to 7 September 1990.


According to the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted by UN, Article 16:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers

(A) Are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;

(C) Shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.

17. Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.

18. Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions”.


Another accident has occurred recently. Advocate Goga Oniani applied to GBA for assistance. He defends former high officials of Saakashvili regime, in particular former Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Defense Bachana Akhalaia, also former Prime Minister, former Minister of Internal Affairs Ivane Merabisvhili and other high rank officials of former government.

As Mr. Goga Oniani stated right after accusations against his defendant Bachana Akhalaia were proved to be insufficient and he was discharged in court, advocate Goga Oniani and his family members became subjects of pressure by current government.

On 13 January 2014 new accusation were brought against the former Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Defense Bachana Akhalaia. Advocate Goga Oniani was defending his interests. On the same day Mr. Oniani claimed through Media that accusations against Mr. Bachana Akhalaia had political grounds and there was no real evidence in the case. His statement was broadcasted by all Central Channels. On the second day the Office of Prosecutor summoned advocate Goga Oniani as witness for interrogation. He was asked only one question whether a document was signed by him or not. Mr. Oniani confirmed that it was his signature.

In the view of fact that there was no necessity of interrogation (that became obvious after questioning) Mr. Goga Onini has some strong doubts that he was interrogated only just to be banned from Akhalai’s case.

I, Chairman of GBA presume that this is a method well adopted during the governance of Saakashvili which is used by current government. 


Regarding the abovementioned I severally appeal to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) with our modest request to adopt all necessary measure in order to prevent the persecution of Georgian lawyers, to address President and Prime Minister Of Georgia as well as Georgian government in order to conduct effective investigation of abovementioned facts and call for respect of “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers” adopted by the United Nations, Havana, Cuba, 7 September 1990.



Yours sincerely,

Zaza Khatiashvili

Chairman of Georgian Bar Association

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