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The News in Brief

Monday, February 23
Statue of “Russian peacekeepers” to be unveiled in occupied Abkhazia

A statue of the Russian peacekeepers who died during the conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia in 1994-2008 will be unveiled in Abkhazia.

According to the Abkhazian media, the statue will be unveiled in Sokhumi.

Mother, two children killed in car accident

A mother and two children died when a passenger minibus crashed into a pole.

The incident took place on the Agara –Gomi road on Saturday.

A criminal investigation has been launched.

PACE Rapporteur Calls on Georgia ‘Not to Use Pretrial Detention to Settle Political Scores’

Rapporteur of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) on “abuse of pre-trial detention”, Spanish lawmaker Pedro Agramunt, chairman of EPP group in PACE, called on the Georgian authorities not to use pre-trial detention to “settle political scores.”

“Georgia has made a good deal of progress in reducing pre-trial detention. Given the general improvement, I was surprised to learn that such a large number of senior representatives of the previous government, currently in opposition, have been kept in detention, some of them in deep isolation, despite the presumption of innocence,” said Agramunt, who paid a fact-finding visit to Georgia this week.

“I could not help getting the impression that this is part of a bitter campaign by the current authorities against their predecessors,” said Agramunt, who is also PACE’s co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan.

“The demonization of political competitors, which seems to be mutual in Georgia, is not healthy for a democracy, and the power to detain suspected criminals must not be used, or appear to be used, to settle political scores,” he said.

In Tbilisi Agramunt also visited several former senior officials, who are either in pre-trial detention or are serving prison terms after being convicted. He visited ex-PM Vano Merabishvili and ex-defense minister and former prison system chief Bacho Akhalaia, who are serving prison terms after court found them guilty of various criminal charges, as well as ex-mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava and former head of criminal police Irakli Pirtskhalava, who are in pre-trial detention.

Fact-finding visit to Georgia was made in a lead-up to a report PACE rapporteur is expected to prepare on abuse of pre-trial detention in the Council of Europe member states; he has already visited Russia and Turkey for this purpose.

National Guard School to open in Georgia

Georgia is planning to establish a National Guard School to prepare and train upcoming commanders and platoon sergeants.

The National Guard School will be built on the territory of the Bazaleti Training Centre, announced Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze.

A European delegation, led by Danish Home Guard Captain, Anders Friis, is on a working visit to Georgia.

Today Major-General Kapanadze met and discussed the new facility with representatives of the Home Guard of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Estonian Defence League.

The Georgian side introduced the guests about the school’s training programme, methodology, equipment, infrastructure plans and material provisions.

The European side shared their experience with the Georgian side, particularly regarding the Danish reserve forces and the school arrangement model, and offered Georgia some recommendations on how to proceed with the new military school.

Ioseb Gogashvili appointed as Deputy Interior Minister

Ioseb Gogashvili has been appointed as Deputy Georgian Interior Minister, a representative of the Interior Ministry told Frontnews on Friday.

Ioseb Gogashvili was a Head of General Inspection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

Georgia concerned by “border treaty” between Russia-Tskhinvali

Russia’s attempts to remove the state border between itself and Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region was one of the issues Georgia highlighted at a special meeting with co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions today in Tbilisi.

The Geneva Talks, co-chaired by representatives from the EU, UN and OSCE, were established to address the consequences of the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict.

At today’s working meeting, held at the Foreign Ministry, the Georgian side was led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the Georgian delegation to the Geneva International Discussions, David Dondua.

The sides discussed issues relating to the working agenda of the upcoming 31st round of talks, scheduled for March 17-18. In particular, the Georgian side expressed concern about the so-called "state border treaty” signed between the Russian Federation and breakaway Tskhinvali.

The Georgian side said by signing this document, the Russian Federation "vainly attempted to conceal the de facto annexation of Georgian territories stemming from the upcoming so-called treaty on ‘Alliance and Integration’”.

In this context, Dondua once again underlined the importance of the unilateral, legally binding non-use of force pledge by Russia and the need for the establishment of international security mechanisms inside Georgia’s two occupied regions.

Meanwhile humanitarian issues and other points in the agenda of the upcoming Geneva International Discussions were discussed at today’s meeting. In particular, the necessity to respect the fundamental rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees was emphasized.

In addition, the co-chairs of the Geneva International Talks briefed the Georgian side on the results of the work carried out by health experts in breakaway Abkhazia region.

Dondua and the Georgian delegation once again stressed the importance of the Geneva International Discussions and reiterated Georgia’s readiness to continue participating in the talks and its current format.