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Prosecutor’s Office questioning of Constitutional Court Judges

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, July 28
The Prosecutor General’s Office started questioning the judges of the Constitutional Court in connection with the investigation launched after the statements of the Constitutional Court Chair, Giorgi Papuashvili, who claimed on July 24 that certain judges ”are being watched and blackmailed” in order to make them rule in favour of the government or to hold up standing verdicts.

Papuashvili did not specify the names and the details of the cases; however, he noted that they are high-profile cases which are ongoing.

All the judges were notified by the Prosecutor’s Office and ordered to report to the Office, including Giorgi Papuashvili himself, who did not respond to the summons. He said there was no sense in reporting to the Prosecutor's Office until after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

“I have already met with the President. Now I am waiting for a meeting with the Prime Minister. He promised he would find time to meet me. After this I will be ready to meet the Chief Prosecutor”, said Papuashvili.

According to the Prime Minister, he is ready to meet Constitutional Court Chair soon but he wonders why Papuashvili is not going to the Prosecutor’s Office in order to provide details to the investigation.

“I want to remind Papuashvili that the Prosecutor's Office is not entirely dependent on the executive branch, it is an independent institution… I would like to remind this, because there is such an impression, created deliberately, that this process is completely controlled by the government and this is not true,” stated Kvirikashvili.

Constitutional Court judge, Lali Papiashvili, who was questioned by the Prosecutor’s Office yesterday, says Papuashvili’s statements were surprising for her.

“No pressure has ever been put on me… We make decisions according to the law and not according to someone’s opinions,” stated Papiashvili, and underlined that Constitutional Court judges have always been independent from the government.

So far, Papuashvili met with the President and a number of non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). The third sector says Papuashvili was referring to attempts to blackmail judges with video footage of their private lives

Head of the NGO-International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) Nino Lomjaria said the statement Papuashvili made was "very serious” and the Court Chairman needed to cooperate with law enforcers.

The ruling team links the statements made by Papuashvili to the upcoming parliamentary elections. However, the opposition believes that the government has no political will to investigate possible facts of pressure on judges of Constitutional Court.