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Hammarberg: Reforms a work in progress

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 9
EU Special Adviser on Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights in Georgia, Thomas Hammarberg, held a press conference on June 7. He stressed that one of the major challenges Georgia is facing currently is related to the ineffectiveness of the prosecutor’s office. He stated that all cases where politicians have violated the law should be addressed and investigated in a timely fashion. Hammarberg commented on illegal eavesdropping, saying that the issue requires deep consultations between the government officials and civil sector.

Hammarberg admitted that there have been many positive moves taken in the country regarding judicial system, penitentiary system and freedom of the media. He suggested that the adoption of the anti-discrimination law and the labor code were confirmation of the country’s advancement. However, according to him, there are serious gaps regarding the prosecutor’s office that fail to adequately meet public demands. Hammarberg emphasized that there are thousands of cases still uninvestigated.

“Despite the fact that one and a half years have passed after the parliamentary elections, thousands of cases remain on the shelves. Only accepting the files is not enough, and that the prosecutors should have explained what they intended to do with the cases,” Hammarberg said.

Speaking on election issues, the EU representative said that there is speculations in the country regarding pressure being placed on opponents based on political grounds. He stressed that such cases should be investigated in order not to encourage a poor election environment.

“The upcoming local elections should be as exemplary as the previous presidential elections. It is important for the country’s image.”

Commenting on illegal eavesdropping and surveillance, Hummarberg stated that solving the issue of who should control the eavesdropping device installed at mobile operators’ headquarters needs time.

Hammarberg will stay in Georgia until Georgia signs the Association Agreement with the EU.