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President of the Venice Commission visits Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, January 31
President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio, is visiting Georgia. The president is being accompanied by the Venice Commission Deputy Secretary– Simona Granata-Menghini.

In an interview with TV Maestro, Buquicchio advised Georgians to prove to the world that the country is capable of maintaining cohabitation between the new government and the president. He was also asked to comment on the Amnesty Law recently adopted by the parliament.

Buquicchio expressed his regrets that the Amnesty law was adopted before the Venice Commission viewpoint on the issues was released. However, he also confirmed that he can understand the condition of the prisoners who were released under the new law. “According to the demand of the parliamentary assembly, we will discuss only the part of the law that pertains to political prisoners. It doesn’t mean that we’ll try to find out whether they were political prisoners, we’ll discuss only procedural issues.”

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani replied to the statement made by Buquicchio and said that she does not regret that the Georgian parliament did not wait for the Venice Commission's viewpoint and adopted the Amnesty Law, as this made it possible for many prisoners to return to their homes.

During the interview, Buquicchio also commented on the planned Constitutional amendments and said that a good constitution is a result of a wider consensus possible between all the political parties and society, rather than only between a party and current majority. Constitution has to exist longer than the legislative body will.

Buquicchio welcomed the initiative of the new majority to edit the Constitution before the presidential elections. “I consider that this is right, as they want the presidential candidates to know what kind of power they will have and what kind of regime will be in Georgia, parliamentary, presidential, half prudential...” Buquicchio said.

Amnesty Law and the draft law on Common Law Courts were one of the main topics of the meeting between the President of the Venice Commission and Chair of the Georgian Parliament Davit Usupashvili on January 30. The parties agreed that all following important constitutional amendments and laws will be adopted only with the cooperation and consultation of the Venice Commission. According to Ususpashvili, the Venice Commission viewpoint will be considered while working on the planned amendment in the Election Code.

On the same day President Mikheil Saakashvili hosted Buquicchio at his Kvareli residence in Kakheti. On January 31, the delegation plans to meet with non-governmental organizations and also to hold a meeting at the Ministry of Justice with the Minister Thea Tsulukiani, as well as Deputy Ministers Gocha Lortkipanidze and Sandro Baramidze.

During the two day visit the guests will hold meetings with high ranking officials including Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Reintegration Issues Paata Zakareishvili, as well as the Chairman of the Constitutional Court Giorgi Papuashvili.

At the end of the day the President and the Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission plan to hold a press conference.