The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee of Ministers today reiterated concern over the “the diligence, thoroughness and promptness” of Georgia’s probe into the European Convention on Human Rights violation against Vano Merabishvili, UNM-era Interior Minister.
The Committee is overseeing the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights decision on the 2013 pretrial detention of Merabishvili, which was found in violation of the Article 5(3) as well as Articles 18 and 5(1) of the Convention, involving limitations on the use of restrictions on rights to liberty and security.
The Deputy Foreign Ministers of CoE member states urged the Georgian authorities to prioritize the investigation, pending for over three years, and establish the criminal liability of those responsible for the violation.
The Committee of Ministers, in the statement made after their September 14-16 meeting, also called on Georgia to strengthen the external independence of the Prosecutor’s Office and to broaden the investigative remit of the State Inspector’s Service.
ECHR ruled in 2017 that the 2013 pretrial detention of the UNM-era official 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 sentenced him in separate trials 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.