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Controversy between the President and the Prosecutorís Office

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 11
The Special State Protection Serviceís case has been declassified by Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. However, the case has caused controversy between the President and the Prosecutorís Office.

Several days ago the Prosecutorís Office submitted an application to the Presidentís Administration about the declassification of all documents of the Special State Protection Serviceís case. These documents were classified as secret by the previous government of Georgia. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili is accused of misspending a large amount of public funds and a criminal case has been launched against him. The Prosecutorís Office states that the declassification of the documents is essential, as it provides important evidence against the former President.

The Presidentís administration claimed that the Prosecutorís Office of Georgia published secret correspondence between the Prosecutor General's Office and the President's Administration, which is a violation of the country's law on state secrets.

Consequently, the President appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to accomplish its obligation and punish the side that violated the law.

Responding to the allegation, the Ministry of Interior Affairs stated that the Prosecutorís Office did not violate the law. The MIA stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducts surveillance on the consequences of the disclosure of state secrets in the printed media.

ďIn the given case it is established that the data disseminated by the means of mass-media does not contain, considering its content, any kind of features that are required for the document to be considered as a state secret,Ē the MIA statement reads.

The Chief Prosecutorís Office had to make a wider explanation of the issue.

The statement reads that in the course of the investigation into the unreasonable expenditure of budgetary resources allocated for the Special State Protection Service in 2009-2013, various documentary materials were seized, which were related to the expenditure of up to 9 million GEL.

According to the State Audit Service report, these funds had been spent unreasonably. At the time, all of the documents related to the unreasonable expenditure of the funds concerned had been wrongly classified without any legal grounds.

The Prosecutorís Office states that they addressed the Counter Intelligence Department in order to ascertain whether or not these documents contained a state secret. The Counter Intelligence Department concluded that none of the above-mentioned documents contained state secrets and they were wrongly classified.

The Prosecutorís Office claims that the responsible authorities declassified the criminal case and a major portion of the materials contained in the case files. Only a minor portion of the materials remained, the declassification of which was within the competence of the President of Georgia. Thus, the office addressed the Presidentís administration through letters on July 12 and August 6 to release the ban.

The Presidentís administration explained again that their concern was related to the letters sent to the Presidentís Administration on July 12 and August 6. The President states that the letters were classified by the Prosecutors office itself and making public the letters was violation of law. Thus, the statement made by MIA was ďstrangeĒ for the Presidentís administration.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyersí Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, states that revealing the correspondence did not damage state interests. However, Kozhoridze was intersected in whether the letters were really classified or not. ďIf the Prosecutorís Office had declassified the letters and spoken only after, there would not have been any problems,Ē Kozhoridze said.