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The News in Brief

Friday, March 1
Public Defender meets with Thomas Hammarberg

On February 27th Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili met with EU Adviser on Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg. During the meeting, Hammarberg stated that he will stay in Georgia for several months and assist relevant stakeholders involved in the transitional justice process by sharing his experience and preparing expert conclusions. Nanuashvili discussed the activities carried out by the Ombudsman's Office during the last two months as well as its future plans. Hammarberg expressed readiness in sharing his experience in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as in future cooperation with the Ombudsmanís Office of Georgia. (

Onishchenko plans to visit Georgia

Head of the Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onishchenko told the Russian media that he plans to arrive in Georgia after the group of experts from his office wraps up their on-site inspection of Georgian wine and mineral water companies. However, Onishchenko has abstained from assessing the quality of Georgian products until the inspection is over. (Rustavi 2)

Davit Narmania leaves for the USA

Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Davit Narmania has left for an official visit to the U.S.A. While there he will hold meetings with the Vice-President of the World Bank and the Director of the Sustainable Development Sector.

At the meeting with representatives of the World Bank, Davit Narmania will focus on infrastructure projects carried out by the World Bank in Georgia. The Minister will also talk about the Ministryís priorities and plans. The delegation, led by Narmania, includes the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the head of the Road Department and the Director of the Municipal Development Fund. (IPN)

Special State Protection Service responds to the President

Special State Protection Service has released a statement in response to the Presidentís statement about refusing to use the State Guard Service. The statement reads that as per the amendments to the Law on the Special State Protection Service, the Presidentís Special Guard Service has been separated from the Special State Protection Service and hence it will be subordinated to the President. The Presidentís Special Guard Service should protect the President and his family members as well as the presidentís residences. The Guard Service will have 350 employees and a 7-million lari budget.

ďWe want to notify you that it is not true that the Presidentís guard was deprived of arms. The Special State Protection Service of Georgia will continue to protect the President until the Presidentís Special Guard Service starts functioning. Protection of the President is guaranteed by law. If the President refuses the services of the Special Guard, the Special State Protection Service automatically becomes obliged to protect the President. In turn the President is obliged not to hamper state structures in fulfilling their obligations.Ē the statement reads. (IPN)

Congress fact-finding mission to Georgia

A delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe carried out a fact-finding mission to Georgia on February 27th and 28th. The purpose of the visit was to obtain information on the situation of local and regional democracy in this country since the last elections held in October 2012. The delegation examined the allegations of pressure put on elected representatives and local authorities which could undermine local democracy in light of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. A complaint to this effect was sent by the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) to the Congress at the beginning of February. The delegation is composed of Congress rapporteurs on Georgia Nigel Mermagen (United Kingdom, ILDG) and Helena Pihlajasaari (Finland, SOC), accompanied by Jean-Philippe Bozouls, Executive-Secretary of Congressís Chamber of Local Authorities.

After a first monitoring visit was carried out from June 11-13th 2012, a draft report and recommendation on local and regional democracy in Georgia were approved by the Monitoring Committee of the Congress on February 13, 2013. The conclusions of this fact-finding mission will complement this text, which will be submitted to the Congress Session for adoption in March 2013. (Council of Europe)

Prosecutor applies to Appeals Court on Ugulavaís case

The Chief Prosecutorís Office has applied to the Court of Appeals, objecting to the ruling of the Tbilisi City Court in the case of Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. The Appeals Court has a 72-hour deadline to rule on the case. Prosecutors have charged Ugulava with money laundering, financial machinations and demand suspension of his authority while preventing him from leaving the country and one million lari bail. The Prosecutor`s Office says the court ruling releasing the Mayor is illegal. (Rustavi 2)

Ombudsman makes a new proposal

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili has proposed a swap of all ethnic Ossetians serving their sentences in Georgian prisons for Georgian inmates arrested by the South Ossetian government. Nanuashvili says if this proposal is adopted it will be one step forward in the beginning of dialogue with the de-facto government of South Ossetia. Nanuashvili has also commented on the issue of Marek Dudaev, an ethnic Ossetian who has been incarcerated in Georgian prisons for the past nine years. Nanuashvili believes the release of Marek Dudaev and other ethnic Ossetians from prisons would be a humanitarian act. (Rustavi 2)