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Gianni Buquicchio ends visits to Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Friday, February 1
As part of his two day visit to Georgia, President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio held meetings with the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on January 31st at the State Chancellery.

Ivanishvili and Buquicchio discussed proposed constitutional amendments and both agreed that some amendments need to be adopted urgently.

According to the PM, Buquicchio agreed with the fact that the powers of the Georgian President are inflated and need to be limited at some point.

“I assured Mr. President that all constitutional amendments will be widely discussed and we will always make agreements with the Venice Commission." Ivanishvili commented after the meeting.

“We had a very fruitful conversation with him.” Buquicchio said after the meeting with the Georgian PM. “Concerning the constitutional amendments... There is a serious need for constitutional improvement." he added. The President of the Venice Commission advised the Georgian government that constitutional amendments should not be done urgently within few months; it needs time “to do a proper job”. However, Buquicchio also mentioned that several amendments need to be adopted urgently.

Gianni Buquicchio had several other meetings on the same day, including with the Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani and various NGO's on January 31st.

The major topics of discussion with Tsulukiani were the High Council of Justice and the new proposed law concerning the courts. After the meeting with Buquicchio the Justice Minister said that the President of the Venice Commission would like to see an independent justice council in Georgia, and it should be free of any political influence.

Tsulukiani also mentioned that the Ministry of Justice will be waiting for the group of the experts sent by the Venice Commission to discuss the proposed laws with them. The experts are expected to arrive in the country next week.

According to Buquicchio the Venice Commission and the Ministry of Justice share many of the same views. He added that judicial system reforms should be carried out on by consensus. Buquicchio described Georgia as having "very good society" as well as professional lawyers and judges that can help create consensus about constitutional reforms.

Buquicchio did not make any comments after leaving the meeting with NGO representatives. However, as the other participants of the meeting revealed the President of the Commission was mainly interested in the position of Georgian civil society and their attitude to the latest events in the country.

The Chair of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) Nino Lomjaria said that Buquicchio was interested in the viewpoint of the civil society regarding the reforms of judicial system and particularly, regarding the jury institute.

Buquicchio finished his official visit to Georgia with a summarizing news conference. “I am an old friend of Georgia. My first visit was in 1993." Buquicchio said stressing that the aim of his first visit to Georgia was to work on drafting the first constitution of the independent country. He says Georgia now has a Georgian Dream but he has his own dream of seeing a peaceful Georgia committed to democratic changes.