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Chief Prosecutor resigns

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 6
“Due to the recent questions of society that have arisen in connection with my biography, I feel compelled to respect and take into account public opinion and resign from the post of the Chief Prosecutor,” said Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze on December 30, 2013. The decision was preceded by large-scale speculations and allegations towards Partskhaladze over his past. Civil sector representatives advised him to resign.

According to the statement made by Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who was recently suspended from office, Partskhaladze was convicted on January 16, 2001 by the Augsburg regional court for armed robbery. Ugulava said on December 23 that Partskhaladze was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in an Augsburg prison and is forbidden to occupy high positions until 2016. Partskhaladze responded that he had a certain incident with police in Germany, due to a police officer’s mistake, but claimed that he was not subject to coercive measures. He stressed that the incident had nothing in common with an armed robbery.

In his December 30 statement, Partskhaladze explained that Georgia is in the process of establishing justice at present and he would not like to put the legitimacy of those investigations, which are currently conducted by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, in question.

Georgian Dream administration called the decision made by Partskhaladze a worthy decision. The prime minister, the minister of education and the minister of integration in the Euro-Atlantic space, stressed that public interest was high over the Partskhaladze issue.

“We will not do anything that might be unacceptable for society. That is our priority. The prosecutor’s office will have high legitimacy and there will be no reason to question this legitimacy either by the international community or the Georgian public,” PM Irakli Gharibashvili said.

The parliamentary minority the United National Movement (UNM) states that the resignation was the due to public pressure.

“The fact that Partskhaladze resigned has nothing in common with good will. The decision was a result of civil sector activeness,” UNM MP Davit Bakradze said.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) Kakha Kozhoridze stated that the Chief Prosecutor’s criminal record was incompatible for the position.

“We do not state that someone who has a criminal record should not take positions. However, an individual who holds the Chief Prosecutor’s post with a criminal record is incompatible,” Kozhoridze said.

Analyst Gia Nodia called the decision positive and noted that Partskhaladze should have resigned as soon as his criminal record became known to the public.

The Prime Minister stated that he has several candidates and will name a new Chief Prosecutor in the coming days. One of the candidates is the current chair of the Anticorruption Chamber, Paata Shavadze. Shavadze confirmed with the Guria News that his candidacy is being discussed.

He states that he has his own plan. In the case he is selected, he intends to make changes and promises that he will open deceased Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s case in two months.

“In case I fail, I will leave the post,” Shavadze claims.