Several hours before the meeting of Tbilisi Sakrebulo began on October 10, Sakrebulo Chairman Giorgi Alibegashvili announced that only member and employees of Sakrebulo as well as media representatives were allowed to attend the meeting. He also announced that the decision is motivated by the desire to safeguard interests of residents of Tbilisi and promote development of the capital. It is important to note that the meeting agenda included a proposal to hand over Tbilisi land plots to companies affiliated with Bidzina Ivanishvili.
According to the Code of Local Self-Government and the Rules of Tbilisi Sakrebulo, Sakrebulo Chairperson is authorized to close a meeting of Sakrebulo on the basis of Sakrebulo decision only. It is also important to note that Sakrebulo as a collegial body of the government had not discussed closure of the meeting before the meeting took place and the Chairman of Sakrebulo was not authorized to make a unilateral decision to close the meeting.
Further, legal justification for prohibiting interested individuals including MPs from attending the meeting is unclear. The Georgian legislation does not recognize any such prohibitions to attend a meeting of a collegial body of the government. The General Administrative Code of Georgia obligates all government entities to conduct their meetings in an open and public manner, except when such meetings are set to discuss state, commercial or personal information. Otherwise, anyone can attend a meeting of a representative body of the government.
In the case concerned, Sakrebulo Chairman had no legitimate basis for closing the meeting. Therefore, the decisions made by Sakrebulo Chair to prohibit interested parties from attending the meeting is illegal and violates the Code of Local Self-Government of Georgia, the General Administrative Code of Georgia and the Rules of Tbilisi Municipality Sakrebulo.
Under the General Administrative Code of Georgia, conducting a meeting of Sakrebulo in violation of the rules prescribed by the legislation results in invalidation of decisions made at the meeting of Sakrebulo by court, which calls legitimacy of decisions made at the October 10 meeting of Sakrebulo into question.