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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Tuesday, February 12
A discussion held on constitutional changes

Chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Issues Committee Vakhtang Khmaladze, headed the discussion on constitutional amendments at the House of Justice on February 11. Interpressnews reports that the issue of creating a constitutional commission was also a focus of the meeting.US and German experts in constitutional issues had been participating discussions in the process of forming the Georgian constitution since the 1990s. This time they agreed to cooperate with their Georgian colleagues to evaluate the ongoing changes to the state law and assist Georgian legislators.

Khmaladze said this discussion opened the cycle of meetings with organizations which have been working on the constitutional problems. Foreign experts are due to meet with the parliamentary majority and minority, scholars and other people interested in the issue. This time the meeting with foreign experts was also attended by Georgian NGOs.

Protest follows changes to the Law on Occupied Territories

NGOs held a protest rally in front of the State Chancellery on February 11, demanding that the Georgian Parliament not support changes to the Law on Occupied Territories. Netgazeti reports that 21 NGOs said that if the parliament adopts the changes they will be partially following Russia’s demands.

The NGOs recollected how Russian Foreign Ministry representative called the Law on Occupied Territories “an awful” subject for “political establishment” adding that the Russian government will “watch over how the Georgian government will act over this issue.

NGOs think that changes to the Law on Occupied Territories would be an important expression of consensus over Georgian interests and would assist in the demolition of the non-recognition policy over the occupied territories.

According to the proposed bill initiated by the Georgian Ministry of Reintegration, the person violating the law would be fined for the first time while criminal persecution will only follow after repeated offenses. According to the current legislation, a person is detained for the first violation.