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Georgia has a new Chief Prosecutor

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, November 30
The Georgian Parliament has approved the Prosecutor’s Office high-ranking official as Georgia’s new (and first-ever elected) Chief Prosecutor.

Out of the 150-seat legislative body of Georgia, 82 lawmakers voted for the former first Deputy Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze for a non-renewable 6-year term, while 15 voted against his candidacy.

Members of the ruling majority Georgian Dream (GD) coalition revealed their “unanimous support” of Shotadze, whose candidacy was selected by Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani (along with two others) and later approved by Georgia’s Prosecutorial Council.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party disapproved of the choice, saying that Shotadze has always been the “puppet” of Georgia’s former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Following the motion, they stressed that Shotadze would fail to introduce positive moves in the Prosecutor’s Office, as he had already served there and “stood behind politically motivated cases”, especially of those related to former UNM officials.

Several days ago, when answering lawmakers' questions in Parliament, Shotadze, 32, stressed that he had a definite view on how to create the most transparent and fair incarnation of the Prosecutor’s Office.

His promises to improve the institution were encouraged by Tsulukiani, who stressed that based on Shotadze’s programme and future plans, as well as his previous experience , Shotadze would be the “best ever” Chief Prosecutor of Georgia.

Based on amendments to Georgian legislation introduced in September of this year, a new Chief Prosecutor had to meet a range of criteria to be confirmed on the post.

Particularly, three candidates should have been selected by Georgia’s Justice Minister after her consultations with Non-Governmental and academic field representatives.

The three candidates then needed to be presented before the special Prosecutorial Council chaired by Tstulukiani, composed of 14 members - prosecutors, Members of Parliament (MPs), judges, civil and academic field representatives. The Council had the right to select only one candidate who must also have been confirmed by the Government before Parliament’s final approval.

Commenting on the issue, Georgia’s leading NGOs have stated that the process of selecting the Chief Prosecutor was accompanied with “a range of drawbacks, and because of this many actors refused to participate in it”.

They emphasized the importance of transparency in the process and stressed that any ill-ran reform might lead to undesirable consequences.