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Justice challenge in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, April 20
Interpol removed the red notice from Georgia’s former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili’s name, which means he is no longer internationally wanted.

Adeishvili, who is wanted for numerous crimes, including the torture of prisoners, the violent crackdown of opposition demonstrators in 2007, as well as taking a TV station off the air in his home county, will not be arrested and extradited to Georgia.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia confirmed the news and also revealed that Interpol has never requested additional information on Adeishvili’s charges, and his name was removed from the list without providing a preliminary notice to the Georgian side.

The official letter from Interpol states that Adeishvili was granted political asylum from one of the countries he had appealed. Therefore the organization deemed it appropriate to remove him from the international wanted list.

Many accuse the Georgian side in failing to prepare the appropriate legal documents, and provide Interpol with enough proof on the numerous crimes committed by Adeishvili while he held an executive position.

Otar Kakhidze, the lawyer representing Adeishvili, and many other officials from former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government, says that the charges against his client are very questionable and without any legal basis. Therefore, Interpol revoked the search notice for the former justice minister.

It must be mentioned that removing a person’s red notice without preliminary discussions with the interested state, has never been a precedent in Interpol’s practice until now, and the fact might raise many questions. Considering that many powerful politicians in the West have been favoring Mikheil Saakashvili and his government even after they lost power, it is possible that Interpol budged under the influence of the world’s politicians. The Georgian government has been continuously criticized prosecuting former state officials.

However, this kind of attitude from the West can endanger the establishment of western standards and values of democracy among Georgian citizens. It is obvious that if the crime is committed, the offender must be held accountable. Georgian society witnessed various offences committed by previous state officials, including bribery, depriving business people the right to property, and the seizure of large portions of their business, as well as torture. While the opinion of the western experts and NGOs has become valuable among Georgians, not all their opinions can or have to be accepted.

While many of the international state officials criticize the Georgian government for persecuting former officials, Georgian society simply seeks justice and answers, whether the country was ruled by the criminal government or not. Therefore, Interpol should have considered a search for Adeishvili so he could appear before the court. Finally, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office should have had better legal basis against the individual they were investigating.