President of Georgia explains veto on law on secret wiretapping
Salome Zurabishvili on wiretapping
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has commented on the so-called wiretapping law, which she vetoed.
“There is a dividing line here – either we are still within the Soviet legacy, or we are moving toward a truly European system. Is our privacy protected from eavesdropping or not? Do we live in a country where we have to stop and think whether we should have our phones on us? We could just say what the hell, let them listen – but this is not a European life, there is no protection of human rights, it’s a different system and we must get out of it. That’s what I wanted to say by this veto,” Zurabishvili said.
On June 7, the draft law, initiated by deputies from the ruling Georgian Dream party, was adopted by parliament in the third reading, whereupon the president vetoed it.
According to the legal and constitutional experts of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, the bill on secret wiretapping was adopted in a hurry and requires both an impact assessment and more detailed justification.
According to the Venice Commission:
● The monitoring mechanism for covert surveillance measures in Georgia is inadequate, and a comprehensive review of existing covert surveillance systems is needed;
● Freedom of communication and privacy are fundamental values in any liberal society; therefore, covert surveillance measures must be carefully formulated and narrowly interpreted by state authorities and courts;
At the briefing, the president also noted that the way the changes were adopted, in apparent haste and on questionable grounds, raises suspicions that “these are changes adopted to consolidate power.”
“It is not possible at the moment when we say that we’re going to get candidate status (in the EU) in the next few months. If we are going to Europe, we must go there. If we are not going there, then it should be said. The veto means we had to decide once and for all where we are going.” Zurabishvili stated.