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Thursday, February 21
OSCE Monitors Trials of Ex-Officials in Georgia

OSCE’s democracy and rights arm (ODIHR) has launched monitoring of court proceedings of those cases in which former high level officials face criminal charges.

The first such trial, which will be monitored by the team of experts from ODIHR, is one of Bacho Akhalaia, the former defense and interior minister, who is being with carrying out illegal imprisonment, torture and exceeding power.

A preliminary court hearing into the case, which apart from Akhalaia also involves seven other co-defendants, was held on February 20 and adjourned for February 28.

“Trial monitoring is a powerful tool for supporting judicial reforms and promoting adherence to domestic and international guarantees of fair trial rights,” Janez Lenarcic, the director of OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a statement on February 20. “I am confident that our monitoring activity in Georgia will contribute to the consolidation of the country’s democratic institutions.”

The team of international ODIHR monitors will assess relevant domestic laws and trial proceedings for their compliance with international fair trial standards.

According to OSCE, the team will release a final report of its observations, which will describe any shortcomings identified during the monitoring activities and provide recommendations aimed at enhancing the administration of criminal justice in line with OSCE commitments. Civil.Ge

Defense Minister Visits NATO headquarters

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania left for Brussels where he will meet NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the sideline of the NATO defense ministerial meeting that will be held on February 21-22, the Georgian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

In Brussels, Alasania will also participate in a meeting of NATO defense ministers with counterparts from non-NATO member states contributing to the Afghan operations. Alasania also plans to meet with Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to the Georgian MoD.

It was announced on Monday that the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s senior decision-making body and the NATO Secretary General would visit Georgia in the next few months.

“This high-level visit will be yet another confirmation that Georgia is moving on its path of NATO integration; it also shows the importance NATO plays towards Georgia,” Alasania said on February 18, adding that he expects to define the exact dates of the visit during his talks in Brussels this week.

Ambassadors from NATO member states from the alliance’s senior decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, visited Georgia twice – once in September, 2008 and then in November, 2011. Civil.Ge

Georgian President congratulates Sargsyan on presidential election win

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili congratulated his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, for being elected president for a second term.

During his telephonic conversation with Sargsyan, Saakashvili wished him success and wellbeing and economic and democratic development to the Armenian people, Gruzia Online reports. The Armenian and Georgian presidents discussed bilateral ties as well.

As Armenian reported earlier, in line with preliminary data and as a result of the tally of the ballots that were cast in Armenia’s 1,988 polling precincts, incumbent President—and ruling Republican Party leader—Serzh Sargsyan received 58.64 percent of the votes in Monday’s presidential election.

Opposition Heritage Party Chairman, and former FM, Raffi Hovannisian came in second, with 36.75 percent.

The voter turnout was 60.18 percent.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin likewise congratulated Serzh Sargsyan on his reelection. News.Am

Tengiz Gunava says that the drug crime is a serious problem in Samegrelo

"A Drug crime is a serious problem in Samegrelo”, Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti Governor Tengiz Gunava said at the press conference at the press club of "Frontnews”.

"Drug crime is a serious problem in Samegrelo. Of course, it is bad, when two so-called "Bariga" (drug dealer) returned in the region. There have already been cases when young boys died as a result of excessive dose of drugs,” Gunava said. Frontnews

Court of Moscow discusses the request case of Givi Targamadze

On February 21, the Court of Moscow will consider the request of the investigation of absentee Georgian politician Givi Targamadze on February 21.

"The procedure for the official announcement regarding Targamadze's international search continues. The necessary documents have already been submitted to the court for his arrest and then the documents will be handed over," said the representative of the Interior Ministry of Russia.

We remind you that Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee said on February 14 that it had filed criminal charges against Givi Targamadze for allegedly conspiring with the Russian opposition activists in plotting riots in Moscow last year. (Frontnews)