Head of Georgia's ruling party: US Embassy received incorrect information, but this is not an excuse
US Embassy statement regarding State Inspector’s Service
On January 4, chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze, criticized the negative statement of the US embassy regarding the abolition of the State Inspector’s service in Georgia.
“The statement of the embassy contains factual errors, incorrect and unfair assessments and undermines Georgian society’s trust in the Western partners”, Kobakhidze said.
What is the US Embassy statement about?
In its statement made on January 3, the US embassy sharply criticized the actions of the Georgian government, in particular, the abolition of the State Inspector Service, which was carried out at the end of December 2021.
The State Inspector Service was empowered to investigate crimes committed by representatives of law enforcement agencies and officials that violate human rights and freedoms.
The head of the service, the opposition and a large part of Georgian society are convinced that the decision to liquidate this structure was made after it announced possible violations committed against the former President of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, who has been in prison since October 1, 2021.
The US embassy statement also sharply criticized the amendments to the Law on Common Courts.
“Last week, the ruling party undermined government accountability by abolishing the State Inspector Service, which is mandated to investigate police abuse and protect data privacy, undermined the independence of individual judges by amending the Law on Common Courts, and undermined faith in the judiciary by appointing yet another Supreme Court judge using a flawed selection process. No credible reasons were provided to the public for why these actions needed to be rushed through without appropriate consultations.
The lack of transparent discussion or analysis of the amendments is particularly troubling. Whether intended or not, the ruling party sent the message that independent oversight of the government or dissenting voices, even when prescribed by law, will be answered with retaliation, discipline, and dismissal.
The United States supports Georgia’s sovereignty and stability every day through our long-standing security cooperation and economic development programs. Strong democratic institutions and adherence to the rule of law are Georgia’s best defenses against Russian aggression. Steps that weaken democratic institutions, such as the judiciary or independent oversight agencies, damage Georgia’s aspirations for NATO and European Union membership, and undermine the basic freedoms that are the foundation of Georgian culture and society”, the statement reads.
- Georgia abolishes State Inspector Service
- Elections, Covid-19, freedom of media and Mikheil Saakashvili in focus of Ombudsman’s 2021 report
- US Ambassador to Georgia: rejection of the electoral reform risks the tyranny of the majority
Georgian government’s response
The leader of the ruling party suggested that “the US embassy was not properly informed and it could be attributed to a human error”.
“But for the Georgian society, this is neither an explanation nor an excuse”, said Irakli Kobakhidze.
“We have 30 years of very successful collaboration with our partners. We often take advice from them, and of course, we take that advice into account. There are, unfortunately, exceptional cases in which we hear unfair and incorrect assessments from them and this is another example of it…]”.
● The law, which abolished the Office of the State Inspector, was adopted by the Parliament of Georgia in an expedited manner on December 30 in the third reading. According to this law, State Inspector Londa Toloraia and her deputies will resign on March 1. The head of the service, Londa Toloraia, said that she had repeatedly shown a principled, different position from that of the government and got “punished” for that.
● On December 30, 79 Georgian Dream and two European Socialist MPs also supported the expedited amendments to the Law on Common Courts.