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Restoration of justice according to Georgian politics

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 7
In its election promises the Georgian Dream coalition spoke about the restoration of justice in the country. This entailed the investigation of the multiple violations committed by the representatives of then United National Movement (UNM) administration and the punishment of those who committed crimes. This also meant the release of those who were convicted and jailed unfairly.

However, the fulfillment of this promise has become problematic.

Some supporters of the Georgian Dream, say that a large number of promises remain unfulfilled. In certain cases the former UNM representatives not only remain unpunished, but were even promoted.

They demand the detention of the former leaders of the UNM, an investigation into their illegal activities, and the abolishment of the UNM as a political entity. If this demand is not fulfilled, radical elements of the coalition promise to create a new political party and do it themselves.

However, the leaders of the Georgian Dream coalition say that the process of the restoration of justice has started, but this needs time for everything to be conducted according to the law, via fair, unbiased investigations. The first step in this regard was the amnesty of more than 16,000 inmates from various prisons. The Prosecutorís Office has started an investigation into hundreds of different cases concerning the abuse of human rights.

Several high-ranking officials of the UNM have been detained or interrogated.

The most notorious cases have been the detention of one of the leaders of the UNM and former Minister of Internal Affairs, Vano Merabishvili, as well as the dismissal of UNM member Gigi Ugulava from the Tbilisi mayorís position. As for former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is no longer protected by political immunity, he left the country and likely will not return in order to avoid the possibility of criminal charges.

There are certain cases, which are highly speculated about, including the investigation of the death of then Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. The Prosecutorís Office has said repeatedly that the case will be investigated in a couple of months. More than a year has passed but no new evidence has been released so far.

The investigation of the 2008 August War with Russia has also started. It is promised that the results will be publicly available in Spring of 2014.

Both these cases are so important for the country that they might influence not only the domestic situation in Georgia, but also shape the opinion about Georgia around the world.

Both these cases undermine the role of the UNM and its leader Saakashvili. Georgiaís Western allies and various international institutions advise the Georgian leadership to avoid selective justice and to not exercise political persecution.

There are some voices in the country that advise the administration to go deeper and to investigate cases like the death of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the 1992-1993 military confrontation in Abkhazian territory, as well as the process of ousting President Gamsakhurdia from Georgia in 1992.

So, these are the old challenges for the current Georgian leadership, but it is a popular demand and the Georgian Dream coalition should answer those challenges.