From Delegating the Coercion to Non-State Actors to the Idea of “Sovereign Democracy”

Teona Zurabashvili 

The legal condition of the peaceful assembly of citizens has been paradoxical in Georgia since 2013. Specifically, the right of peaceful assembly of the various political or social groups is not enforced by the state itself through the usage of legitimate power (Ombudsman.ge 2020); however, peaceful assemblies are often canceled by the organizers or find themselves significantly limited in time and space due to the obvious danger coming from counter-demonstrations that have been organized to take place simultaneously (Civil.ge 2013a, Civil.ge 2013b, Radio Liberty 2018, Radio Liberty 2019a, Radio Liberty 2019b, Tabula.ge 2019a, Civil.ge 2019a, Ombudsman.ge 2020, Civil.ge 2021a).

It is noteworthy that the government views the “violent groups” as those people with different opinions who use the right of peaceful assembly, and confine the threats from them within the same legal framework that guarantees the rights of those people who express their opinions in a peaceful manner (Ombudsman.ge 2020). In addition, the government does not implement any efficient preventative measures to guarantee the right of peaceful assemblies and provide protection for the peaceful participants (Ombudsman.ge 2020). This situation leaves space for the assumption that the state is informally cooperating with those far-right groups and segments of the clergy that are organizing counter-protest actions and, in this manner, informally impairs the freedom of peaceful assembly in the country.

Due to the aforementioned challenges, the policy memorandum discusses the phenomenon of informal cooperation between the state and the organizers of counter-demonstrations and suggests arguments as to why the political elite in the country might need to indirectly restrict the freedom of peaceful assembly in the country. In addition, considering the recent background of the government’s evidently non-constructive rhetoric towards the West, the memorandum also views how the existing tendencies of the informal cooperation between the state and the organizers of the counterdemonstrations might impact the prospect of democratic development in the country.

Also in the following document:

  • Why the State’s Inaction towards the Counterdemonstrations might Signify State’s Informal Coercion on the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly?
  • What is the Purpose of Delegating Coercion to the Non-State Actors in the Georgian Context?
  • Delegating the Coercion to the Non-State Actors: Internal Legitimacy
  • Delegating Coercion to the Non-State Actors: International Legitimacy
  • The Idea of “Sovereign Democracy” as a Novel Source of Legitimacy

 

Teona Zurabashvili  – Junior Policy Analyst at Georgian Institute of Politics

 

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