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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 30
PM on planned reform of Judicial Council

PM Ivanishvili said in a statement on May 28 that the upcoming reshuffle in the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), a body overseeing judicial system, “is an important reform, which should play a decisive role in the establishment of the independent judiciary.”

“Since the composition of the High Council of Justice is of huge importance to the entire judiciary, I do not rule out that outside individuals may have a temptation to exert influence on the results of the election of the members of the High Council of Justice. I deem it inadmissible, because in order to achieve real judicial independence, first and foremost, it is essential to guarantee non-interference in its activities,” reads the statement.

“I believe that today Georgia is as closer to the goal of establishment of the independent judiciary as never before. I am sure that everyone, both within and outside the judiciary, realizes the importance of this event. So I call on everyone to facilitate judges in making their choice independently without [anyone’s] interference,” Ivanishvili said.

A Conference of Judges will be held on June 9, where the judges will elect their representatives in the reformed High Council of Justice. (Civil.Ge)

Shevardnadze demands that Saakashvili be tried at court

Georgia’s former President Eduard Shevardnadze demands that incumbent President Mikheil Saakashvili be handed over to the courts.

In an interview with Asaval-Dasavali newspaper, Shevardnadze criticized Saakashvili’s decision to send Georgian soldiers to Afghanistan. He wonders why the Georgian troops are still in Afghanistan in the case when, “The NATO countries are pulling their troops out from there.”

According to Shevardnadze, Georgia should not stop its efforts for the return of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At the same time the ex-President of Georgia salutes PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s efforts, “To normalize relations with Russia.”

Eduard Shevardnadze also commented on the attempt to hold a gay-rights demonstration in capital city Tbilisi on May 17.

“All these years Saakashvili has fought against the Georgian language, Orthodoxy, the traditional and the national,” Shevardnadze stated in anger, and demanded a public trial against Mikheil Saakashvili and his political party. (News.Am)

Opening of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan corridor to change energy map of continent

The U.S. was the key player in implementation of projects in Azerbaijan related to opening the Caspian Sea to foreign investors, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said. He made this statement at the opening of the Azerbaijan-U.S. Convention "Vision for the Future", which is underway in Baku.

According to President Aliyev, Azerbaijan created very preferable investment climate, and legal protection for its investments. It was managed to create a very positive business atmosphere in Azerbaijan, he added.

"With the strong support from the U.S. Administration, a strategic pipeline connecting Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean - the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan was constructed. The construction of this pipeline was not only the means for Azerbaijan and its partners to transport hydrocarbons. That was actually a new geographical connection, it was a new corridor. And at that time we probably were not able to foresee all the ultimate benefits of this pipeline, but now we see that opening this corridor actually changed the energy map of our continent," President Aliyev underscored.

It allowed Azerbaijan to export as much as it produces, and it allowed Azerbaijan to become a transit country, he said. (Trend)

North African and Asian countries learn Georgian social aid experience

A delegation of North African and Asian countries including heads of state social services is in Georgia at the invitation of the World Bank.

The purpose of the visit is to get acquainted with the target programs of social assistance existing in Georgia, Ministry of Health of Georgia told Trend.

On Tuesday the delegation met with the Minister of Health of Georgia, as well as representatives of the central administration and the heads of regional offices of the Agency of Social Services. (Trend)

Georgian Prosecutor General explains ex-officials detention policy to European diplomats

The Delegation of the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia headed by the Prosecutor General Archil Kbilashvili was on an official visit to Strasbourg.

The Georgian Justice Ministry reported on Tuesday, that Kbilashvili met with the Permanent Representatives of Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to the Council of Europe.

The discussion focused on the events recently occurring in Georgia, including the arrests of opponents of the current government. The EU ambassadors asked about the reforms implemented in the legal sector.

Kbilashvili also met with the Deputy Director General of the Council of Europe's Directorate of Human Rights Christos Jakomopolu. During the visit, the delegation will meet with the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights, Nils Muzhnieks, EU representative in the Council, Luizeloy Pavan-Wolf, Secretary General of the Council of Europe,Thorbjorn Jagland and Chairman of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights, Dean Spielman.

It should be noted that the detention of the former Prime Minister of Georgia, now the leader of 'National Movement' opposition party, Vano Merabishvili, raised questions in the Council of Europe. (Trend)

General Tamazashvili to file a lawsuit against Saakashvili

General Tamaz Tamazashvili plans to file a lawsuit against President Saakashvili accusing the latter of abusing his dignity. Moreover, Tamazashvili said everyone who had voiced similar allegations against him in the period before the parliamentary elections should also pay.

A journalist of the media union Obieqtivi, Nino Jgharkava, was also present at Wednesday’s press conference, where General Tamazashvili announced his decision. The journalist claims that she has an audio tape of the conversation, where one of the officers arrested for the falsification of evidence while detaining Tamazashvili, confirms that they planted a gun in the clothes of the General. The journalist plans to send the evidence to the office of the Chief Prosecutor soon. (Rustavi 2)

Late musician Irakli Charkviani awarded a special prize

"There is no greater honor for a Georgian than being awarded the prize bearing the name of the greatest Georgian,” Gela Charkviani, father of late singer Irakli Charkviani, said in his speech upon receiving the Rustaveli State Prize for his son from President Mikheil Saakashvili on May 28. He expressed his gratitude to the President for “honoring the art Irakli Charkviani created.”

The award ceremony was hosted at the President’s Administration, with Saakashvili awarding the prize for contributions to science and culture to Mzekala Shanidze, Fridon Sulaberidze, Shalva Mosidze, Geno Kalandia, Irakli Charkviani, David Doiashvili, Vazha Azarashvili, Magali Todua, Giorgi Ochiauri, David Tserediani, Irakli Ochiauri, Ketevan Matabeli, Buba Kikabidze and Jemal Ajiashvili. (Georgian News TV)