DRI: The restrictions extended within the framework of the state of emergency need to be justified

Pursuant to the President’s order[1] of April 21, 2020, the state of emergency declared nationwide has been extended until May 22, 2020. The country’s transition to the phase of full-scale spread of the virus has been named as the motive for the decision. No other argument has been provided by the government.

In accordance with the March 21 Presidential Decree on the State of Emergency, the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia have been restricted across Georgia until the end of the state of emergency. Later, for the purpose of reducing the danger of the mass spread of the epidemic, additional restrictions were imposed on businesses, while the movement of mechanical vehicles was completely banned.

According to Georgian legislation, a state of emergency is a temporary measure in the interests of ensuring the security of citizens of Georgia, including during an epidemic, when state bodies are unable to exercise their constitutional powers in a normal manner. The purpose of the declaration of a state of emergency is normalisation of the situation as quickly as possible and restoration of law and order.[2]


According to international human rights law and the Constitution of Georgia, during a state of emergency, it is possible to apply temporary restrictive measures, which would otherwise be considered a violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

In the current situation, when a lot of countries have declared a state of emergency due to the danger of the spread of COVID-19,[3] formal basis has been provided for declaring a state of emergency across the country. However, the danger of the spread of the virus cannot serve as a reason for imposing and constantly extending restrictions without proper justification.

Pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights, in time of emergency, states may take measures derogating from their obligations under the Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. Therefore, any measure taken during a state of emergency should be strictly required and proportionate, should not last indefinitely and should constantly be subject to review.[4]

Given the above criteria, extension of each restrictive norm requires proper justification despite the fact that, given the scale of the pandemic, it is possible to describe the government's decision on the extension of the state of emergency as expedient. When announcing the decision on the extension of the state of emergency, the government did not provide detailed information to the public about when they would ease the restrictions, or how proportionate and necessary the new restrictions were. Provision of general information about the full-scale domestic spread of the virus cannot be considered sufficient, especially given that the number of new cases has dramatically dropped in recent days.[5]

Bearing the above in mind, the Democracy Research Institute calls on the government to:

  • Ensure strict proportionality of the restrictions imposed within the framework of the state of emergency to the exigencies of the situation;
  • Present a state of emergency exit plan tailored to the needs of citizens;
  • Gradually replace the restrictions imposed within the framework of the state of emergency with measures aimed at solving specific problems.


[1] Order No. 2 of the President of Georgia, April 21, 2020, available at: 

[2] Law of Georgia on State of Emergency, Article 1.

[3] In search of exit: Where and how restrictions are being eased? 

[4] CCPR General Comment No. 29: Article 4: Derogations during a State of Emergency, §4, available at:

[5]Daily new cases in Georgia,