Kbilashvili becomes new Prosecutor in Chief
By Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, October 31President Saakashvili, who still holds the right to appoint or dismiss the chief prosecutor upon Justice Minister’ request, approved the query of Tea Tsulukiani and appointed Archil Kbilashvili on the post. The new government plans to make the post of prosecutor more independent from the Justice Minister and to increase parliament’s role with respect to the office. According to the same plan, the dismissal of the chief prosecutor will only be possible either through impeachment procedures or through President’s decision, which will require approval of the Parliament.
Kbilashvili has already announced that he will reshuffle the current staff of his institution within the following two weeks. Therefore, he calls on prosecutors to postpone the ongoing trials before the new staff is appointed.
Within the new plan of reshuffling the whole system, Kbilashvili and his new prosecutors will review and study again all those cases in which the court decisions seems to be arguable and even illegal. He promised to start an investigation on the scandalous cases, including the death of Speaker Zurab Zhvania soon after the appointment.
“We are going to review illegal verdicts – that means that if a person was convicted illegally, that person will be able to apply and request the review of the verdict. Therefore, verdicts should not be delivered in ongoing trials, where the prosecution may still be acting in the same way that is condemned by us.” Kbilashvili commented at a press conference on October 30.
Several prosecutors have already followed the advice and applied to the courts with the query to suspend hearings into those cases which are currently heard in substance. Courts have approved the requests.
“I understand how high society’s expectations towards the prosecutor in chief are”, Kbilashvili told journalists, but the new prosecutor also asks the society to allow him some time for renewing his agency, as he is going to replace the top level leadership, including chief prosecutors of Tbilisi and regions.
Kbilashvili, who became a member of the newly elected parliament with the Georgian Dream coalition and has worked as a defense lawyer for many years, replaced Murtaz Zodelava on the post. During his carrier as a defense lawyer, Kbilashvili has participated in several legal proceedings as a representative of Bidzina Ivanishvili, including the famous disputes over the businessman’s citizenship. Georgian law requires the chief prosecutor to be free from any political influence; hence the person taking the post should not belong to any of the political parties. Kbilashvili officially announced that he will leave the Georgian Dream Coalition and the official statement will be sent to Ivanishvili as soon as possible.
The new chief prosecutor also calls on all interested individuals, those who want to work with his office to apply on October 30-31st.