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The News in Brief

Monday, December 29
Commission asks NSC to publish testimonials

The Temporary Commission of the Parliament of Georgia studying the August events has addressed the National Security Council (NSC) with a request to declassify some of the testimonials of senior officials delivered behind closed doors, Civil Georgia reports. Although the greater part of each hearing was held publicly and broadcast live by the public TV’s second channel, some parts were held behind closed doors when the matters being discussed concerned, as officials put it, “sensitive state secrets.”

As well as the transcripts of those closed-door sessions, the Commission has also requested that the NSC to consider declassifying those documents submitted to the Commission by the authorities which are currently not publicly available. One such document is President Saakashvili’s letter to the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, sent in June, which laid out Tbilisi's proposals on Abkhazia, a Commission member, MP Giorgi Gabashvili of the ruling party, said.
(Black Sea Press)

Movement for United Georgia welcomes planned Constitutional amendments

The Movement for United Georgia welcomes the planned amendments to the Constitution concerning redistribution of power between the President and Parliament of Georgia, Eka Beselia, its Secretary-General, told journalists at a news conference on December 26.

According to present information, the amendments imply the limitation of the President’s power and its delegation to Parliament. “This amendment is of particular importance and the opposition has been demanding this for a long time,” Beselia stated.

According to Beselia, the Constitution of Georgia had been re-written and adjusted to give the President absolute power. Thus, the balance between the legislative and executive branches was disrupted. It is important to introduce amendments to the Constitution which will restore that balance.

Beselia said however that the classified status of the document gave rise to certain suspicions. “This is an important issue and we were surprised by the statement that the document is classified. A constitutional amendment is not classified information, on the contrary, it should be as public and transparent as possible. More people related to that sphere who can give relevant recommendations and assessments with regard to the amendments should be involved in this process,” Beselia stated.
(Black Sea Press)

Opposition demands its comments are accepted

The Movement for United Georgia is demanding that Parliament considers its comments on the new criminal procedure code prior to its adoption, Eka Beselia, its Secretary-General, told journalists at a news conference on Friday.

According to Beselia, “this code can be considered a constitution of human rights and freedoms. This document is very important. It can be regarded as the second most significant document after the Constitution. It reflects the realization of constitutional rights. Therefore it is very important that it is adopted only after all major viewpoints and remarks are presented and accepted.”

According to Beselia, statements made by Parliamentary factions about the revolutionary character of the draft legislation were merely irresponsible. The draft code was elaborated more than three years ago. Unfortunately, the working group, staffed by that time by the General Prosecutor's Office, did not include either professional attorneys or those who conducted academic research in the sphere of criminal law. Therefore, according to Beselia, it is very important to adjust a number of “discriminative norms.”

First, the principle of the equality of parties is violated in the draft code. The prosecution appears privileged and the defence discriminated against, having limited rights. Despite numerous remarks and comments, the norm under which judges are entitled to carry out legal procedures in the absence of the parties is still in effect. Judges may use this right whenever they consider it necessary. The code is also lacking specific norms ensuring private investigation, as well as important articles regulating the principles of competitiveness, Beselia said.

According to Beselia, the party has prepared its remarks and comments and they will be forwarded to Parliament. The Parliament of Georgia shall pass the given law at the second reading, having passed it at first reading one year ago.
(Black Sea Press)

Georgian President opens new hotel in Bakuriani

The employment of people and the preservation of jobs even at the expense of profit is the greatest demonstration of patriotism today, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili stated on Friday, at the opening ceremony of a new hotel constructed by the Center Point Company in Bakuriani.

According to the Georgian President, hundreds of local residents were engaged in the hotel construction works and some tens of locals will be involved in its operation. President Saakashvili believes that investment in similar projects will be beneficial and successful for employers in future.

The new hotel is located on an area of 10,000 square metres. USD 6 million has been invested in the construction of the hotel. Approximately 50 locals will be employed there.

According to the Center Point representative, rooms in the hotel will be both for sale and rent. A similar hotel will be constructed in Batumi in the near future.
(Black Sea Press)