Suing President of Georgia
20 October, 2011
Suing President of Georgia

“Termination of citizenship does not change political plans”

The moment businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili publicly announced about his political aspirations, the civil registry dashed to counter-announce about the termination of Ivanishvili’s Georgian citizenship.

 

Civil Registry Agency used the Georgian Constitution and the organic law on Georgian Citizenship in the said decree. Namely, it asserted that Bidzina Ivanishvili was given French citizenship after he received Georgian citizenship and hence had to be stripped of the latter, i.e. Georgian citizenship.

Eka Beselia, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s lawyer: This decision is an act of political persecution, not a judicial document. The decree is devoid of the conclusion of the Civil Registry reflecting procedures that normally precede the respective Presidential order. Article 13 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia recognizes rights of the interested party to take part in the examination of any planned decision to create, change, restrict or terminate rights and obligations of the given party. This means they should have involved Bidzina Ivanishvili when they started to examine the question of citizenship, which they did not. The same code identifies rights for the person in question to express one’s opinions and familiarize oneself with the material of the administrative proceedings during the process of the citizenship termination.

Bidzina Ivanishvili gained the Georgian citizenship in 2004 through naturalization. He remains as a Georgian citizen as confirmed by the Presidential decree #484 of 10 June 2004 on the award of the citizenship to Bidzina Ivanishvili, as well as by his Georgian citizen ID issued on 7 March, 2006 and Georgian passport issued on 13 March, 2006. His last passport is issued on 29 June, 2011. Furthermore, Bidzina Ivanishvili was registered in the united list of voters for elections such as May 2010 local elections. No branch of State power had the right to terminate the citizenship after Bidzina Ivanishvili announced that he was abandoning French and Russian citizenships.

Bidzina Ivanishvili obtained the French Passport in 2010, while his Georgian passport is a newer acquisition as dated by the year of 2011. Our legislation has no passage that stipulates that if a person with a dual citizenship acquires another citizenship, he or she will lose the original citizenship. Anything not prohibited by law is permissible. Later it became known that Saakashvili signed the decree on 11 October, 2011 on the termination of the citizenship for not only Bidzina Ivanishvili but Ekaterine Khvedelidze.

Eka Beselia: By signing this political act, Mikheil Saakashvili recognized that he pays no esteem to the Georgian Constitution, internationally recognized legal norms and uses illegal methods to persecute his political opponents. The decree on the citizenship termination is made through a gross violation of law. Namely, the organic law on Georgian Citizenship and the procedure of the publishing administrative acts were both downtrodden. This is the whole new basis to open the court case.

We would like to emphasize one fact, unprecedented for its severity both in legal and moral terms. Mikheil Saakashvili terminated the Georgian citizenship not only to Bidzina Ivanishvili but to his spouse Ekaterine Khvedelidze who received Georgian citizenship on 22 July, 2004, when she already had French and Russian passports. She passed through Georgian borders with her French passport several times. This was confirmed by the relevant state organs. This means there was no formal basis for the termination of the Khvedelidze’s citizenship. In short, the matter is not about the legal procedures. In reality, Presidential power is being ill-used against Bidzina Ivanishvili. He is facing consequences of illegal and unacceptable methods used against him, as a political opponent in order to threaten and persecute him. We are suing Mikheil Saakashvili in the court to have his illegal decree #602 cancelled. On my recommendation, at this stage Bidzina Ivanishvili is retaining the French citizenship, considering the raised potential threats, but is abandoning the Russian citizenship.