The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee of Ministers expressed concern over the “the level of diligence, thoroughness and promptness” of the investigation into the European Convention on Human Rights violation against Vano Merabishvili, UNM-era longtime Interior Minister and later on PM.
The statement referred to the 2013 pretrial detention of Merabishvili, which the European Court of Human Rights found to be in violation of Articles 18 and 5(1), involving limitation on use of restrictions on rights and right to liberty and security.
The CoE member states’ Deputy Foreign Ministers said in the decision adopted during their March 9-11 meeting that to establish the identity and criminal liability for those responsible for the violations, Georgian authorities shall conduct the investigation “without further delay,” and “credibly” substantiate all its conclusions.
Moreover, the Committee of Ministers called on Georgia to “implement reforms aimed at further enhancing the independence, effectiveness, and accountability of the prosecution service.”
ECHR ruled in 2017 that the UNM-era official’s 2013 pretrial detention was justified at first, but after his alleged removal from prison, its purpose became to obtain information on unrelated investigations.
Merabishvili was arrested in May 2013 on charges of embezzlement and vote-buying. In 2014, Tbilisi and Kutaisi City Courts in separate trials sentenced Merabishvili for the said charges, as well as for abuse of power into the high-profile murder case of Sandro Gigvliani in 2006.
He was released from prison in February 2020.