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The News in Brief

Friday, August 1
Government welcomes UN Human Rights report on Georgia

The Government of Georgia is welcoming the United Nations (UN) latest report on Georgia which highlights the country’s progress in ensuring human rights.

In the report, conclusions were adopted by the UN Human Rights Committee that further urged Georgia to continue implementing reforms and continue its efforts to end impunity."Over the last two years, Georgia has undertaken deep and comprehensive reforms to entrench democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and we are very pleased to see our efforts recognized and supported by this important UN body,” Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani said."We welcome the recommendations included in the report and pledge to pursue further reforms to ensure the full protection of human rights in Georgia, as well as accountability for past human rights violations,” she added. Adopted on 23 July, the conclusions of the 18-member expert panel particularly welcomed the Georgia’s recently implemented National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan, anti-discrimination legislation, judicial reforms and new guarantees for freedom of assembly. The Committee now urged Georgia to continue reforms to ensure the full implementation of its new human rights policies and legislation to accelerate further planned reforms to the judiciary system. It also strongly encouraged the Government to pursue investigations into past abuses.

The report expressed concern that a number of serious cases of violence, mistreatment, torture and abuse of power under the former regime "are still pending”. These included "excessive use of force by law enforcement and/or prison officers”, "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment”, "violent dispersal of peaceful demonstrations on 7 November 2007, 15 June 2009 and 3 January 2011” and assaults on journalists. The Committee also expressed its concern about "the tens of thousands of complaints lodged with the Prosecutor’s Office in relation to violations committed before the 2012 elections, including unfair trial, torture and ill-treatment and illegal expropriation.” Georgia should, according to the Committee, "complete investigations into these cases without any undue delay, prosecute perpetrators and, if convicted, impose sanctions that commensurate with the gravity of their acts and provide victims with effective remedies.”Tsulukiani said guaranteeing the rule of law and ending impunity had been "a top governmental priority” but the sheer volume of cases and the need to ensure fair trials had caused delays.

"It was imperative to reform the justice system before we could start dealing with these cases. First we needed to ensure the independence of judges and the full rights of defendants,” Tsulukiani said.

The report acknowledged "the challenges faced by the State” and urged care must be taken to avoid political retribution. To address this concern, in 2012 the Georgian Government decided to limit investigations and trials to only the most serious crimes at the highest levels. In a bid to ensure full transparency, cameras were allowed into courtrooms and extensive international and civil society oversight was also permitted. (

International Religious Freedom Report 2013

According to the International Religious Freedom Report for 2013, “there were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice in Georgia”

“The constitution and other laws and policies generally protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom. On several occasions authorities did not respond to societal efforts to limit the rights of members of minority groups. The government continued to favor the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) in the restitution of disputed properties. It also maintained a privileged legal and tax status for the GOC and incomplete separation of church and state in public schools. Some politicians used religiously intolerant rhetoric during the presidential campaign.

There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Cases reported included religious persecution, interference with the performance of religious rites, and reports of physical assault, harassment, and vandalism”, says the report published by the U.S. Department of State. (Frontnews)

Gigi Ugulava comments on Ivanishvili

The government is preparing to deal a blow to Rustavi TV2 and tries to prevent Mikheil Saakashvili from arriving in Georgia, - Gigi Ugulava stated at the end of the trial.

‘’In the background of an economic crisis, the government will deal a blow to Rustavi 2 TV. All recent developments make me think that the government is going to prevent Mikheil Saakashvili from arriving in Georgia by dealing a blow to Rustavi TV2 that will cause unrest for the people Of Georgia. But neither I nor my friends are afraid of Bidzina Ivanishvili and Irakli Gharibashvili, as they will not make us stop by means of using such tricks, as protest will create new leaders,’’ – Gigi Ugulava said.

In parallel, Malkhaz Kapanadze, the Prosecutor, was trying to interrupt him asking the judge to stop Ugulava, as his statement did not refer to the case materials. After delivering his speech, Ugulava said that Malkhaz Kapanadze was impolite.

The Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze explained that the court does not consider making political statements but periodically he will be allowed to do it.

Controversy between the Prosecutor and Ugulava caused uproar in the courtroom. (IPN)

The president of Georgia pardons 280 prisoners

According to the Chairman of the Parole Commission Zviad Koridze, there are 8 females and 10 minors out of 280 pardoned inmates. The Commission considered 2743 cases in total.

As Zviad Koridze said, the pardoned inmates will leave the prison facilities today. "The presidential decree has been handed over to the relevant agencies and, of course, if the Ministry of Corrections implements the president's decree so rapidly as before, all those convicts, who have been pardoned by the president, will be released till the end of the day,"- said Koridze. As the head of the presidential administration, Davit Pataraia said, Giorgi Margvelashvili signed a pardon decree on July 31.