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82 for, 0 - against, Irakli Shotadze became Prosecutor General for second time

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, February 19
Parliament of Georgia approved Irakli Shotadze nominated by the Prosecutorial Council to be elected Prosecutor General by 82 votes. He was backed by a majority of the Georgian Dream, which held the plenary session without discussing the issue. Shotadze will hold this position for six years.

The session was not attended by the members of the National Movement and European Georgia factions, which have boycotted the work of the Parliament. Representatives of these and other opposition parties and activists staged a protest rally outside parliament yesterday against Irakli Shotadze.

The parliamentary faction Independent MPs boycotted the plenary session as well. Opposition lawmakers also opposed Irakli Shotadze's candidacy.

Shotadze had been Chief of the Prosecutor's Office since 2015 before he quit on May 31, 2018, following protests by the Tbilisi City Court over the murder of a teenager on Khorava Street. According to the court ruling, it was unclear who killed the minor Davit Saralidze, while the prosecution had a specific defendant. Later, the Parliamentary Investigation Commission on the Khorava Street Case also revealed several violations by the prosecutor's office.

Georgian MPs supported Shoradze from the beginning, saying he is "a good professional."

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia called Irakli Shotadze a dignified professional who was nominated by the Prosecutorial Council to elect the Prosecutor General.

Gakharia, who came to the parliament to hear the report of the Speaker of Parliament Archil Talakvadze, told the media that Irakli Shotadze was able to make difficult decisions and take responsibility.

Former parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said Shotadze is a professional and he has every reason to return to his position.

"He was leading the most responsible cases when senior officials accused of corruption and in some cases, serious crimes of the previous government were brought to justice," Talakvadze responded to the question on why the government is returning Shotadze to the post of Chief Prosecutor. The Speaker of Parliament said that "accordingly, he has management experience."

Talakvadze noted that when there were questions about the Khorava Street case, Shotadze made a decent decision and resigned, showing everyone that his main moral principles and accountability to the public were in place.

'Cyanide case' took place during Shotadze's prosecution when Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested for attempting to assassinate a member of the Patriarch's entourage and was later sentenced to 9 years in prison. Shotadze was one of the first to say that the crime was being prepared against the patriarch, but the prosecutor's office changed the statement later on.

During the prosecution of Shotadze, Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted from Georgia for two years. He worked on exposing Ilham Aliyev's corruption schemes. A few hours after the kidnapping, Mukhtarli was in Baku where he was arrested on several charges and sentenced to prison. His wife, Leila Mustafayeva, had unsuccessfully sought the prosecution's investigation into the abduction.

In an interview with the Prosecutor's Office, Irakli Shotadze admitted that he had attended a meeting with Mamuka Khazaradze and Vano Chkhartishvili at Bidzina Ivanishvili's house during the Chief Prosecutor's Office.

The post of Prosecutor General has become vacant since Shalva Tadumadze was appointed to the Supreme Court on December 12 as a lifelong judge.