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Parliament finally opens ombudsmanís report, but could be too little too late

By M. Alkhazashvili
Tuesday, July 15
Parliament will hear the human rights ombudsmanís report from last year, a 1400-page tome which the previous parliament shelved before the May election, saying it didnít have the time to look it over.

The ruling party, which dominated parliament then and now, certainly had little incentive at the time to air a report on the stateís abuses of human rights just weeks before a parliamentary election.

And the report was hardly tame: featured heavily was finger-pointing for the violent crackdown on anti-government protestors on November 7. But its damaging contents were rooted in justifiable complaints.

That parliament will now discuss it is good; that the ruling party is already casting the report as partisan and pro-opposition, according to comments from the majority leader quoted by online news source Civil.ge, is bad. So is the fact that parliament is cracking open the report in mid-summer, when the capital empties and political debate gets little attention.

The government clearly has no intention to permit an investigation into November 7. They may be right: the public has shown a readiness to move on from the winterís domestic political tempest. To revisit what is quickly becoming history serves less of a purpose now than it would have shortly after the crisis.

But it would be a mistake for the government to entirely dismiss the charges in the ombudsmanís report. Until the authorities acknowledge the gaps and enforce real rule of law, these incidents and abuses will repeat, creating more pockets of discontent with no legal outlet.