On February 13, leading MEPs on EU-Georgia relations released a statement on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Georgia to send opposition European Georgia leader Gigi Ugulava to prison for 38 months, saying it “raises questions regarding the procedure, timing and motivation of the decision.”
The statement was co-signed by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister (EPP, DE), the Chair of the delegation to the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee Marina Kaljurand (S&D, EE) and the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia Sven Mikser (S&D, EE).
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“An independent and impartial judiciary that has the trust of the society is an essential pillar of any democracy. It is also part of Georgia’s commitments within the Association Agreement,” the MEPs said, adding that “it also further heightens tensions in an already difficult political environment in Georgia.”
According to them, “the continuation of dialogue between the parliamentary majority and the opposition is vital for reaching a consensus on electoral reform that best reflects the will of the Georgian people.” “We will remain in close contact with our partners in the Parliament of Georgia during this crucial time for democracy,” they concluded.
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Two of the judicial panel members Shalva Tadumadze (former Prosecutor General) and Merab Gabinashvili – who were recently appointed as Supreme Court justices for lifetime tenure – supported the ruling, while judge Giorgi Shavliashvili dissented.