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Chief Prosecutor candidate delivers speech in parliament

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, November 27
Chief Prosecutorial candidate, Irakli Shotadze, delivered a speech at the joint meeting of Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committees in Parliament on November 26.

Shotadze, who currently serves as the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, has been selected from three candidates by the Prosecutorial Council as a contender to replace the current Chief Prosecutor, Giorgi Badashvili, if approved by Parliament.

According to Shotadze, he has passed every hierarchical level in the prosecution system and is well aware of all existing problems and shortcomings. He stated that if Parliament approves his candidacy, the Prosecutor's Office will be a much more transparent, independent and developed structure, which will have the full support of Georgian society and international organizations.

“In case I get the support of Parliament, I will take full responsibility to make this structure more developed and independent. I believe that we all will start building a new prosecution system today,“ Shotadze said to the MPs.

He also thanked the Justice Minister, Tea Tsulukiani, who presented his candidacy to the Prosecutorial Council, and the Council members, for choosing him from the three main candidates.

Shotadze said that one of his main priorities is the process of justice restoration and noted that for this purpose, in March 2015, a new department was set up in the Prosecutor’s Office, which investigates crimes committed during legal proceedings.

“We should persuade every citizen that prosecutors are their defenders and we are ready to listen to their problems and understand them,” said the Deputy Chief Prosecutor and underlined the necessity of strengthening ties between prosecutors and citizens.

Shotadze’s presentation in parliament was ongoing to the background of a protest rally, held by members of the opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), and the members of the Free Zone organization.

The protesters are against the appointment of Shotadze as the Chief Prosecutor, saying that his appointment is favourable for the government.

"A lot of cases were not investigated when Shotadze had been working in the Prosecutor’s Office, and he only served the interests of the ex-Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili," said the protesters.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have also addressed Parliament concerning the issue in their joint statement.

According to them, the process of electing the Chief Prosecutor is unwieldy and many shortcomings were identified. The NGOs called on Parliament to take into account their political responsibility and to make a decision on the appointment of Shotadze carefully.

“For the implementation of any reform, the confidence and support from society is vital, which is absent in this case. Ineffective legislative reform and the shortcomings in its implementation process considerably tarnished the success of the reform and the public's confidence,” the statement reads.

New rules regarding the selection and election of the country’s top prosecutor, for a six-year non-renewable term, came into force in September. The new bill also outlined the creation of a 14-member Prosecutorial Council, chaired by the Minister of Justice, who serves as the 15th person on the Council. The amendments were made to make the selection process more transparent.