President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili has vetoed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, adopted by the Georgian Dream Parliament on June 7, citing human rights concerns. The bill allowed the extension of scope and time limits on covert investigative actions, surveillance, and wiretapping by state authorities. This is the first time the president used her veto since she took the office in 2018.
President Pledges to Veto All Bills Going in Wrong Direction
By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, June 23, 2022
As the President stated, even though the bill is likely to be still approved by the ruling party despite the veto, she made the decision anyway to stress her political position and her dissent with the bill that “restricts human rights”. She also stressed that she would veto all the bills adopted in the wrong direction for the next six months.
“I am vetoing the law as a sign that I do not agree with it. I acknowledge it will be overridden and it will not change anything in substance, but I will veto every law that will be passed in the wrong direction within the next 6 months,” the President announced at a special briefing yesterday.
She noted that this is a political veto rather than a legal one, stressing that she cannot allow Georgia to pass a law that further restricts human rights, especially when Georgia is asked to provide more guarantees in this regard, be more democratic, and more European.
EU Ambassador to Georgia H.E. Carl Hartzell has also assessed the bill, stating that the changes “significantly reduce Georgian citizens’ right to privacy.”
“We take note of the fact that Georgia continues to introduce important legislative amendments through rushed Parliamentary processes, without the necessary domestic or international consultations and without properly analyzing their compliance with European standards,” EU Ambassador to Georgia said.
At the briefing, Zourabichvili also criticized both the Georgian Government and opposition over the “confrontation, insults, intolerance, and disobedience” both sides showed at Wednesday’s parliament session, instead of displaying “restraint, politeness, and respect”. According to her, the sides should not argue about what led to the European Commission’s decision to issue a set of conditions for granting Georgia the EU membership candidate status, but instead should focus on “what we are doing in these last days in order to present our issue in the most positive way and get successful results.”