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Compiled by Messenger staff
Thursday, January 17
President cannot be impeached

Rezonansi reports that Eka Beselia, the Chairwoman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, says President Mikheil Saakashvili cannot be impeached.

Vakhushti Menabde from Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) says it is possible to put the issue of the President’s impeachment in the frames of the current state constitution if Saakashvili is found guilty of violating the constitution, committing state treason or any criminal offense. According to Menabde, in this case, one-third of Parliament MPs can start the process which should further be sent to the Supreme Court or Constitutional Court according to the type of possible violation. If the court proves the offence, at least 100 MPs should vote for impeachment, otherwise the process will fail.

“When a president loses authority through impeachment he cannot participate in the [upcoming] presidential elections,” Menabde said.

According to Eka Beselia there is a need for raising president’s responsibility at least after the recognition of political prisoners. However, she explains that Saakashvili has carried out the changes in the state constitution about the procedure of impeachment. To begin the process, it is necessary to have a high quorum and the decision of the Supreme Court. Beselia thinks there is no sense in starting the impeachment procedures before the court reform.

Whom has the President pardoned?

In an interview with Kvela Siakhle Deputy Chairman of the Legal Issues Parliamentary Committee, Shalva Shavgulidze, said that during its nine years of governance the United National Movement (UNM) has managed to fully sssssubordinate the court system. “This is why people do not trust in the legacy and fairness of court decisions,” Shavgulidze said, calling the amnesty “a human act.”

He said the Georgian people have a strong wish to restore justice in the country thus the amnesty somehow satisfies their demands. “This amnesty is flexible, fair and gradually moves to different categories of inmates,” he said. Shavgulidze also spoke about the inmates released by the pardon commission. The Deputy Chairman finds it doubtful that President Mikheil Saakashvili has pardoned 1,544 inmates since October, 2012.

“I think Saakashvili has not pardoned that many inmates over the last nine years,” Shavgulidze said, explaining that 289 pardoned inmates were sentenced for less serious crimes, 723 for serious crimes, while 532 for particularly severe crimes. Over 50 people pardoned by the president were accused of murder, more than 400 were convicted for robbery and theft, 407 for – drug addiction, while the rest – for illegal suppression of freedom and cooperation with so called thieves-in-law.

“How can a president accuse the Law on Amnesty in the possible increase of the criminal situation in the country when he does not say a word about the criminals he has pardoned?” Shavgulidze said.