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Violations and/or systemic crime

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 24
The video tapes revealing the torture and rape of people has created a high profile scandal in Georgia. Many observers, commentators, journalists and politicians call this a systemic crime conducted by the United National Movement (UNM), which should answer for these crimes. Many demand that the entire UNM, including their leader Mikheil Saakashvili, be taken to court and a ban be placed on the UNM, prohibiting them from participating in the political arena. Meanwhile, the UNM continues to distance itself from the crimes and attributing it to either the previous Eduard Shevardnadze administration or to separate criminal cases.

The video footage is harder to watch than the so-called Taliban video, which has created a world-wide scandal. The Georgian torture and crime videos also became known to the rest of the world and a heavy attack has been launched over the UNM as a political team.

Georgian officials, including the Minister of Justice, say that a thorough investigation should be launched to identify who the master-minder of these atrocities was. Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani expressed her confidence that such criminal activities had been ordered from the top.

Former Parliamentary Chairman and the leader of the Democratic Movement United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, openly states that the UNM is a criminal organization, thus political and criminal responsibility should be placed on its shoulders. Burjanadze also expressed her confidence that the evidence would lead to Saakashvili and his closest circles. According to her, the country should eventually free itself form the UNM once and for all. She also advocates that all UNM leaders – those who will/ are charged with crimes– should be disqualified from being part of Georgia’s political class.

President Saakashvili has not taken responsibility. Instead he has expressed his regret towards the crimes and has demanded justice.

Former Prime Minister, Vano Merabishvili, who is now in pre-trial detention, said that while he was the Minister of Internal Affairs during the UNM regime, more than 200 police officers had been punished because of torture. According to Merabishvili, any such cases had been initiated by the individual criminals working in the police and these facts did not have a systemic character.

So, this is the major position of the sides. Now it is time for a thorough, deep and convincing investigation process, which should reveal whether there were executors who fulfilled the orders coming from the top, or if these were simply their own initiatives.

However, there are some who strongly believe that such crimes could not have been committed without the special endorsement of Saakashvili. This way or another, the investigation is underway and more news will be coming soon.