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President’s pardon rights face restrictions

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 6
The Georgian Public Defender’s Office stressed on November 5 that the president’s rights concerning prisoners’ pardons should be restricted. Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili believes that it is essential to adopt appropriate changes in order to place the privilege of the President of Georgia within the judicially rational, constitutional and legal boundaries.

Nanuahsvili stated that after the Rose Revolution, the President of Georgia was entitled to pardon any number of convicted individuals, at any time, regardless of their crime, without following the rules and requirements prescribed by the relevant regulation.

“This privilege cannot be unlimited and it should fall within the boundaries of constitution and legal rationality. Otherwise, there is a possibility of transforming the presidential pardon, an institution based on the principle of humanity, into a precondition for discrimination, inhumanity and other injustice,” Nanuahsvili says.

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani stated that the pardon institute really requires reform. She stressed that the president should have the right to pardon all categories of inmates. However, the procedure of how the pardon documents occur on the president’s table for signing should be refined.

“The commission that works on pardon issues should follow some new regulations and only such inmates’ cases should be sent to the president who deserves pardon,” Tsulukiani said.

Minister of Penitentiary and Corrections Sozar Subari believes that the president should maintain the pardon right. However, the forms of the pardon should be discussed.

“President Saakashvili has pardoned convicts who have not spent a day in prison and did not recognize their faults. The action is permitted through the law for the president, but does not fit in moral norms. Thus, it should be specified how and in which circumstances the president can enjoy the right,” Subari said.

Whether the Ombudsman’s initiative is transferred into the draft or not will be discussed and decided at the Parliament.

“The public defender’s position is significant. The pardon right is the president’s right. However, the right needs more detailing,” Georgian Dream MP, Levan Berdzenishvili said.

Minority member Nugzar Tsiklauri is strictly against the restriction. He thinks that the president’s rights have been seriously reduced through the new constitution and depriving some other rights from him will turn the president into an insignificant figure.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Kakha Kozhoridze states that 8 years ago, the president granted an unlimited power to himself in this regard and the power should be framed and regulated.