D E M O C R A C Y   I N D E X

The Legislative Initiative Disproportionately Restricts the Right of Georgian Citizens IntenIntending to to Leave Georgia

The legislative amendments related to the right of citizens to travel to the EU / Schengen countries, which are being considered by the Parliament, do not equip citizens with sufficient opportunities to effectively restore the violated rights.

The Parliament of Georgia is deliberating amendments to the Law of Georgia “On Entering and leaving the Country by Georgian Citizens.” The draft law, despite its legitimate purpose, contradicts the principles of law, as it fails to offer citizens sufficient and effective guarantees to restore the violated right to free movement, therefore, it poses a risk of disproportionate restriction of the rights of Georgian citizens.

According to the draft law, it is at the discretion of the Minister of Internal Affairs to determine the terms and conditions of crossing the state border of Georgia by Georgian citizens traveling to countries within the EU/Schengen, and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia can determine the terms and procedure for reviewing a rejection to cross the border with the superior administrative authority/ senior official.

This regulation goes beyond the scope of delegation of authority by the Parliament and grants the Minister of Internal Affairs the discretion to introduce a provision for the consideration of administrative complaints that differs from the General Administrative Code. According to Article 8 of the Law on Normative Acts, the administrative legislation can be regulated only by a legislative act.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is an administrative body, which is a party in relation to a citizen crossing the border. Therefore, the Minister of the Interior cannot be an impartial participant in determining the rules and procedures for the protection of a citizen's right if the latter is rejected to leave the country.

Granting the executive branch the extensive discretion of the above scale poses a threat as Georgian citizens who wish to cross the country’s border will not be able to remedy their violated rights in a timely and effective manner if they get rejected.

Therefore, the Parliament, instead of delegating, should determine the rules and procedures for the protection of the freedom of movement of Georgian citizens in a legal act.

“Democracy Index – Georgia” negatively assesses the draft bill and calls on the Parliament not to support it.