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US Embassy Releases Statement Regarding ‘Rushed’ Amendments in Georgia

By Khatia Bzhalava
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
The US Embassy has released a statement criticizing Georgian Dream for abolishing the State Inspector’s Service. The embassy also focused on appointing yet another Supreme Court judge ‘using a flawed selection process, noting that no credible reasons were provided to the public for why these actions were rushed without appropriate consultations.

According to the embassy, the lack of transparent discussion or analysis of the amendments is ‘troubling’.

“Whether intended or not, the ruling party sent the message that independent oversight of the government or dissenting voices, even when prescribed by law, will be answered with retaliation, discipline, and dismissal,” the statement reads.

The embassy notes that the United States supports Georgia’s sovereignty and stability through long-standing security cooperation and economic development programs. According to the statement, strong democratic institutions, as well as adherence to the rule of law, are Georgia’s best defenses against Russian aggression. It is also noted that the steps that weaken democratic institutions, such as the judiciary or independent oversight agencies, damage Georgia’s aspirations for NATO and European Union membership.

Ruling Georgian Dream Party Head Irakli Kobakhidze assessed the U.S Embassy statement as ‘unfair’, noting that such statements ‘shake the confidence of the Georgian public in western partners.’ According to Kobakhidze, they often take advice from Georgia’s partners, however, “there are exceptional cases in which we hear unfair and incorrect assessments from them,” claiming that this is one of the examples of it.

According to the GD head, there are several factual inaccuracies as well as technical errors in the statement. Kobakhidze claims that the State Inspector’s Service was not abolished as mentioned in the statement, but split into two authorities. He noted that based on the legislative amendments, the authority of the State Inspector’s Service ‘have been broadly expanded.’

The Georgian government adopted the bill replacing the State Inspector’s Service with the Special Investigation and Personal Data Protection services on December 30, despite the calls of foreign diplomats, NGOs, and the opposition to halt the process. The State Inspector’s Service was mandated to investigate alleged offenses committed by state officials and law enforcement agencies.