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PM Grills NGOs for Their Demand to Fire the Justice Minister

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 7
The Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili criticized the Non-Governmental Organizations that have demanded the dismissal of the current Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani, saying “she fails” to carry out effective reforms in the body.

The statement came after the resignation of the Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze on May 31 regarding the murder case of two teenage boys in Tbilisi last year, as the family of one of the killed boys claims that the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia “falsified the case materials” to avoid punishment for an alleged killer.

Ten NGO heads stated that Tsulukiani was unable to deal with the reforms of her body and that during her leadership five chief prosecutors have changed.

NGOs say that participation in the selection process of a new chief prosecutor, offered by Tsulukiani, is useless unless she resigns.

The Prime Minister said that the NGOs’ demand was unacceptable and “absurd”.

“I have stated repeatedly, and I reiterate with all responsibility, that we will ensure a maximum public involvement in the selection of a chief prosecutor. This means that representatives of society, the academic community, and the NGO sector will take part in this process. The Justice Ministry has already launched relevant procedures,” Kvirikashvili said.

He stated that it is unacceptable when several NGOs use the language of ultimatums to communicate with the government, questioning legitimacy of the process by boycotting it.

“Their statement reveals an attempt to politicize the issue, which is equally unacceptable. This is why I urge them against stepping over the mandate of their purview and, if transparency of the process is truly what they demand, they should show more responsibility in making decisions,” Kvirikashvili stated.

“As for the demand of the minister’s resignation, it is an absolutely absurd and irrational demand,” he added.

Tsulukiani has been serving as Minister of Justice since October 2012. In 2013, when her party, Free Democrats, quit the Georgian Dream coalition, she decided to leave the party and remain as a minister.