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Saakashvili demands dismissal of chief-prosecutor

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 17
Head of the president’s administration, Andro Barnovi, asked Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani, to dismiss the chief-prosecutor from his post based on the request of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The letter concerning the issue was sent to the Ministry of Justice on July 13.

The president and the United National Movement (UNM) have been demanding the dismissal of Kbilashvili since the chief-prosecutor released Vladimer Bedukadze (the person who published the confidential video footage showing the torture of prisoners just before the parliamentary elections in 2012) from charges based on a plea bargain for his “special collaboration with the investigation.”

Saakashvili and the members of the UNM spoke about “selective justice” and stressed that Bedukadze should have been punished as others that were involved in the abuse. However, according to Georgian legislation, Kbilashvili had the right to release the individual from charges.

In her response letter, Tsulukiani stressed that it is necessary to show respect to the prosecutor and the judge, in spite of the fact whether or not she or the President of Georgia likes the decision taken by the prosecutor.

"A judge, a prosecutor and a defense attorney – these are the three professions that you and I have to respect, if we really want an independent justice," Tsulukiani said.

Tsulukiani reminded the president that “heavy inheritance” was left in the ministry under the leadership of the previous administration. Tsulukiani also expressed surprise regarding the president’s “braveness during his last days on the position.”

“Where were you when the Strasburg Court was speaking of unfair decisions made by Georgian courts? Where were you when Sandro Girgvliani was killed by your officials? Where were you when more than 17, 000 illegal videos were being created?” Tsulukiani said, adding that the new government of Georgia is fighting for a healthy state system when the court’s or prosecutor’s decisions will not be “dictated by the upper-standing figures.”

According to the head of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Eka Beselia, the new government does not have a chief-prosecutor who deserves dismissal.

“We will not give such pleasure to Mikheil Saakashvili,” Beselia stated.

The UNM is unanimous concerning Kbilashvili. According to them, Kbilashvili’s decision concerning Bedukadze created many question marks.

According to the representative of the Georgian Reforms Association, Otar Kakhidze, Kbilashvili might become a “scapegoat.”

“Bedukadze’s case caused many questions and for him to recover the dissatisfaction of the international and local civil sectors, Kbilashvili might write an application on quitting the position,” Kakhidze said.

Head of Elections and Political Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili stated that Kbilashvili made a “fatal mistake” when he left the old staff at the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Some of those individuals who took part in the systemic crime took even higher positions under the new government. Of course, the staff members of the previous government would have done their best to mislead the prosecutor,” Kakhishvili said, adding that Kbilashvili might regret his decision concerning Bedukadze, however, there are no legal means to change the situation.

Kakhishvili does not believe that Kbilashvili will be dismissed.

“The chief prosecutor is appointed by the president. If Kbilashvili is dismissed now, the president will not appoint a new one and drag on the process as long as possible. The presidential elections are scheduled in October, based on the law appointing or dismissing high-ranking official is not permitted one month before the voting date. In the case Kbilashvili is dismissed, we might not have a prosecutor until the middle of November,” Kakhishvili said, adding that any position, especially the minister’s and prosecutor’s, is attractive for the political team that is in power.