Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

Letter

Georgians want answers to years of impunity

  • Tbilisi: The Saakashvili summons comes at a delicate time in EU-Georgia-Russia relations (Photo: Thomas Depenbusch)

The prison torture scandal that angered Georgians enough to vote out the government of Mikheil Saakashvili in 2012 was only a part of years of abuse and corruption under the leadership of a man some in Georgia and abroad believe should remain untouchable. The majority of the Georgian people at least want answers to those abuses of the past.

For years, the international community - the Europeans, the Americans, and others - had called for a more transparent government in Georgia, a fairer justice system, a freer media. The new government led by Georgian Dream has delivered on those reforms, as the latest EU progress report this week notes. But should there be a two-speed justice system that leaves former officials above the law?

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

This is why thousands of Georgians came forth after the 2012 elections and filed complaints alleging official wrongdoing, requiring a newly freed justice system to investigate. There were allegations of diversion of public funds, wrongful imprisonment, even violence. Some of those cases have required investigators to summon former officials.

The Georgian government has also demonstrated flexibility: that Saakashvili can testify via video-conferencing from outside the country. What is important is that investigators are able to give Saakashvili an opportunity to answer those questions, and show Georgians the transparency of the judicial process. So far the former president faces no charges. Investigators simply want answers.

There is one point in Salome Samadashvili's commentary published in EUobserver on 27 March 2014 on which I agree: This judicial process should in no way affect plans for the accelerated June signing of the EU association agreement with Georgia. The agreement is a deeply important step in Georgia's European integration, and demonstrates the progress our government has made in raising our country to EU standards.

Our judicial process, and its reforms, have been overseen by EU rights envoy Thomas Hammarberg as well as international NGOs. Our reforms have brought an independent judiciary and openness in the process, including cameras in the courtroom. But we should not limit these reforms, and efforts to bring rule of law, by ignoring the abuses of the past.

The writer is chairman of the foreign relations committee in the parliament of Georgia

Ukraine language law does not harm minorities

Some European politicians keep spreading fictitious arguments on Ukraine's language law as being an impediment to minority rights, Ukraine's education minister says.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks