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Constitutional Court Chair says judges are pressured

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, July 25
The Prosecutor’s office of Georgia sent a notification to the chairman of Constitutional Court of Georgia, Giorgi Papuashvili, asking him to report to the Prosecutor’s Office at any time convenient to him concerning his statements that judges are pressured.

“If Giorgi Papuashvili provides detailed information into his claims, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia will make a relevant response,” reads the statement released by the Prosecutor’s Office.

On July 21, Chair of the Constitutional Court Giorgi Papuashvili held a special briefing and stated that certain judges of the Constitutional Court ”are being watched and blackmailed” in order to make them rule out in favor of government or to hold up the verdicts in terms of certain notorious cases.

Papuashvili did not specify the names and the details of the cases. However, he noted that they are high-profile cases which are currently in progress. The Chair of the Constitutional Court called upon the government for a prompt reaction and expressed readiness to provide the state officials with the additional information.

Moreover, Papuashvili underlined that it is not the first time he speaks about the pressure on judges but no proper steps have been taken from the proper agencies yet.

Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili refrained from making any assessments but said he spoke with Papuashvili on the phone.

“I called Giorgi Papuashvili and offered him to provide all necessary information he possesses to the Chief Prosecutor's Office,” said Kvirikashvili.

According to the President’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ana Dolidze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili offered assistance to the head of the Constitutional Court Chair and expressed readiness to meet him.

“They agreed to meet soon and discuss the details,” stated Dolidze.

Opposition and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have asked the Prosecutor’s Office to launch an immediate investigation. However, the majority believes Papuashvili’s statements are politically motivated and groundless.

Member of the opposition United National Movement Sergi Kapanadze said it is obvious the judges are under pressure.

“We doubt that these statements refer to Rustavi 2 TV case too [a private broadcaster, where current and former members dispute over the ownership issue. Rustavi 2 claims the Government wishes to take control on the channel],” he commented.

According to majority member Gia Volski, there are no signs of any pressure being exerted on the judges. He thinks if Papuashvili is aware of such information, he should provide it to the relevant agencies.

The third sector assesses Papuashvili’s statements “alarming” and call on the Prosecutor General’s Office to start investigation.

The head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Ana Natsvlishvili, expressed her desire to meet with Papuashvili in a closed format.

“The information released by the Constitutional Court Chair is the ground to start investigation but the investigation will need more details for alleged crimes to be identified,” she noted.

The Ambassador of the United States to Georgia, Ian Kelly, also commented over the issue saying the allegations are serious.

“We have invested a lot in Georgian democracy, the pillar of which is a fully independent judiciary, free from any political intimidation and control,” Ian Kelly stated.