The messenger logo

President might veto Law on Amnesty

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 27
“The president will veto the law on amnesty and will initiate a discussion with the parliameant concerning the list of political prisoners.” A statement concerning the issue was made by the MP of the United National Movement, Mikheil Machavariani, on December 26.

Parliament passed a law on amnesty with its third and final reading on December 21, giving pardon in various forms to more inmates than the draft initially envisaged.

The amnesty, which will go into force after President Mikheil Saakashvili signs it, envisages several forms of amnesty such as the exemption from punishment, the halving of prison sentences or reducing it either by one-third or by one-fourth. The amnesty will apply to those who have committed crimes before October 2, 2012. The law also includes the issue of political prisoners. Based on the parliament’s December 5th decision, 190 individuals received the status of political inmates and 25 were named as politically persecuted.

“The President stated that he disagrees with the part of the amnesty which concerns those individuals who on the list of political prisoners. A large number of them were detained for spying. We do not think they are political prisoners. It would be better if we wait for the conclusions of the Venice Commission.

Representative of the UNM, Irma Nadirashvili, underscored that the minority is not against the amnesty. However, there are certain articles in the law which should be looked over so Georgia's crime rate does not increase.

“In the case that the President makes such a decision and vetoes the law, it will be a step against the public,” Head of the Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, Eka Beselia said.

Beselia stated that in the case that the president uses his veto right, the parliament will try to overturn the veto. (Three-fifths of parliament should support this).

“I am sure that there will be enough votes at the parliament to overturn the president’s veto if it is needed,” Beselia said, adding that the law for signing will be sent to the president soon.

Political analyst, Soso Tsiskarishvili, told The Messenger that through such action and using the veto concerning the law, the president will finally undermine his political party.

“If Saakashvili acts against the law on which the parliament had worked so hard on, he will provide a mortal blow to the United National Movement,” Tsiskarishvili stated, adding that if the cases of accusing people in spying during the former government became public, even a child would realize the cases were fabricated.

The analyst also underscored that it is not in the president's or National Movement’s interest to complicate the political situation inside the country.

“The best way to win the dispute is to avoid it. The National Movement should follow this path. If the situation gets worse and snap parliamentary elections are held, the UNM will be in a very undesirable position. In this case, the coalition will receive a constitutional majority. However, such a situation is not profitable for our country, as we have seen how unbeneficial it is for people when one political party has all the power,” Tsiskarishvili stated.

According to lawyer Gela Nikolashvi, the president’s decision to veto the law will be very natural.

“If the president signs the document he would have confirmed that his government illegally detained people,” Nikolaishvili said.