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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 24
UNDP arranges a workshop on constitutional law

On December 21 a workshop on contemporary approaches to the interpretation of the constitution closed in Batumi. The three-day session had been organized by UNDP in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Georgia.

With the aim of improving the analytical and research skills of the Court, the event brought together judges and advisors of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of Georgia, independent experts and representatives of non-Governmental and international organizations. The participants discussed contemporary US practices of constitutional interpretation, the experiences of the European Court of Human Rights and the delimitation of jurisdiction between the constitutional and ordinary courts.

The workshop was facilitated by President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia Giorgi Papuashvili, Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia Konstantine Kublashvili and Professor of Constitutional Law at Emory University (USA) Dr. Robert Shapiro. Nona Tsotsoria, a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, was invited as guest speaker.

UNDP is assisting the Constitutional Court of Georgia as part of its project aimed at promoting reforms in the Georgian public sector through a Capacity Building Fund (CBF) and an On-Demand service which responds directly to urgent Government requests. (The Messenger)

Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Georgia discuss situation in the region

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze discussed issues of bilateral cooperation and the situation in the region after the developments in August on Monday.

“We discussed both tete-a-tete and in a broader format the problems our countries are facing,” Mamedyarov stated at the joint news conference after the meeting. “First of all, we discussed the situation in the region against the background of recent developments in Georgia. I described the current state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The broader spectrum of bilateral relations was also discussed,” he added.

According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, the development of cooperation within the GUAM, UN and OSCE frameworks was also discussed. “We emphasized the growth in commodity turnover between the two states. It increased by 86% last year and was worth USD 700 million,” the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan stated. “We also touched on the issue of humanitarian and cultural cooperation and the situation with Azerbaijani schools in Georgia,” Mammadyarov stated. Grigol Vashadze, in turn, said there was mutual understanding on the issues discussed. (Black Sea Press)

Latvia allocates Euro 6,666 for neutralisation of spent ammunition

The Government of Latvia decided on Monday to allocate Euro 6,666 for the neutralization of disposed ammunition, RIA Novosti reported with reference to the Latvian Government’s Press Service.

Latvia has been rendering financial assistance to Georgia within the framework of the NATO “Partnership for Peace” programme. Earlier, Latvia allocated Euro 30,000.

The funds will be used for the neutralization of 1,080 non-guidedsurface-to-air S-8 missiles at Vartsikhe military base, as well as 5,724 Alazani-type missiles and 1,976 Crystal-type missiles stored at Dedoplistskaro military base.

The Embassy of Latvia in Georgia will also be the NATO Contact Point Embassy in Georgia for 2009-2011. Latvia supports Georgia’s NATO aspiration and stands for granting Georgia a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). (Black Sea Press)

Pardon Commission member suspected of extortion

Measures are being taken to arrest member of the Pardon Commission Otar Khurtsidze, who is suspected of extortion.

Khurtsidze is hiding from prosecution, First Deputy Chief Prosecutor Davit Sakvarelidze briefed journalists on December 23. “Three persons (Gigashvili, Toradze and Matsaberidze) made arrangements with Otar Khurtsidze to ensure the release of convict Sofia Asatiani. Khurtsidze first demanded 15,000 and then 10,000 dollars for her release,” the Deputy Chief Prosecutor stated.

According to Sakvarelidze, “Gigashvili and Toradze agreed to give the required sum to Khurtsidze upon the convict’s release. On the day of Asatiani’s release, Matsaberidze and Gigashvili met her at the women’s colony and demanded that first her and then her family members pay the USD 15,000. They threatened to take her back to prison if this was not done.”

“Shota Matsaberidze and Gela Gigashvili were arrested on December 18, 2008 when handing over the money. Their accomplice Koba Toradze (a.k.a Kirille) was arrested later. The Member of the Pardon Commission is currently hiding from prosecution,” Sakvarelidze stated. (Black Sea Press)