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Public Defender’s annual report to the Parliament

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 2
Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, presented the annual report to the parliament on March 30. The report covers 2012 and focuses on all the genuine issues that transpired during the year.

The Public Defender states that 2012 was a very important year in Georgian history, as for the first time the government peacefully changed hands. Nanushvili also stressed that after the elections there are serious positive moves with regard to human rights.

“However, at the same time there are various fields where definite violations have been detected,” Nanushvili stated.

A significant part of the report is dedicated to the pre-election period of the 2012 parliamentary elections and the multiple violations that had been committed during the time.

“We have realized and cleared out different types of violations of that period,” Nanuashvili said.

He also said that 67 inmates died in prisons last year and that is “quite a high figure”.

Nanuashvili touched upon the Lapankuri special operation carried out by the previous Georgian government in 2012, where at least 14 people were killed and six wounded in a firefight on August 29. Among the victims were 11 members of the mysterious armed group (including at least two Georgian citizens, as well as at least five Russian citizens, all of the latter born in the former Chechen–Ingusheti).

Based on confidential sources and the evidence, the Ombudsman talks about “some serious violations” and appeals to the parliament for the creation of a special investigation commission concerning the issue. Nanuashvili spoke on possible violations and questioning of the former Georgian officials.

Nanushavili studied the issues of high public interests, including the cases of former officials Bacho Akhalaia, Tengiz Gunava, Giorgi Kalandadze and others and on those procedural violations that were detected in their cases.

The Public Defender emphasizes that violations of freedom of media expression were “unprecedentedly high” in 2012.

Nnuashvili states that the number of crimes on religious grounds has decreased in 2012. However, “religious intolerance, language of hatred and xenophobia has turned into an undesirable tendency.”

Nanuahsvili states that there were not any incidents of intolerance on sexual grounds. However, this issue requires additional studying according to Nanuashvili.

The report also covers a wide spectrum of social and economic issues, the poor condition of women and children protection and gives recommendations to the government in the formation of a healthy system in this regard.

Former official of Interior Ministry, Gia Lortkipanidze, responded to the Public Defender’s report regarding the Lapankuri special operation. According to him, claims of the Ombudsman regarding serious violations concerning the issue are “absurd and groundless.” According to him, he has already answered all the questions in connection with the special operation.