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NGOs reflect on first 100 days of new government

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 19
The Georgian NGO sector summarized 100 days of the new Georgian Government at the Sheraton Metekhi Palace on February 16. The conference, which was entitled “100 days in the Government: Supremacy of Law and Human Rights” was organized by the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia (TI) and ISFED. The conference was attended by the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, ministers and minority representatives.

Based on the report prepared by the NGOs, various questions were raised concerning the cases of the previous officials.

“Currently it is hard to assess how politically motivated the process was, as we are still studying the issues. However, most question marks are focused on the case of Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti governor, Tengiz Gunava, who was accused of illegally carrying a weapon and drug purchases,” head of GYLA, Kakha Kozhoridze said.

Kozhoridze also underscored that the process of granting the status of political prisoner was ongoing with certain shortcomings and the terms provided for studying the cases were not enough. The NGOs were also against forming a new list of political prisoners.

The NGOs welcomed the initiative of the Justice Minister concerning the creation of a special commission studying the shortcomings of justice.

The NGOs emphasized that based on the situation created by the previous government that establishing the amnesty law was the right move.

Nino Lomjaria from ISFED advised the new government to carry out local-government reform in the near future and shifted attention from the fact that lots of people left self-government bodies during the last three months.

Ivanishvili responded that the process of amnesty was not carried out without mistakes.

“However, I think that the amnesty was needed and at the same time we inherited a very bad situation from the previous government. Three months is too short a period to do lots of things without mistakes,” Ivanishvili stated, adding that the development of the civil sector is very important and initiated frequent meetings with the NGOs.

The Interior Minister stated that an appropriate investigation was carried concerning Gunava’s case and 6 policemen were dismissed from the ministry. Concerning the February 8 library incident Gharibashvili stated that the Special Service of State Defense was not appropriately prepared and the Interior Ministry for its part did its best to regulate the situation.

The NGOs also expressed disagreement concerning the Supreme Council of Justice and stated that the former employees should not be dismissed.

Justice Minister Tsulukiani responded by saying that the old staff of the Supreme Council might follow the old path, that is why changing them is necessary. In general, the minister emphasized that after his coming to the ministry only a few people were dismissed.

“I called them and explained why they should not work in the ministry. They could appeal to the court if they thought my attitude towards them was wrong,” Tsulukiani stated.

Minority representative Giorgi Vashadze emphasized that the new government is doing the same things that they had criticized the UNM for. According to him, after the coalition’s coming to power, people have been dismissed from jobs and minority representatives are being oppressed.