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Kobakhidze Says U.S. Embassy Statement Undermines Public Trust in West

Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze called the recent U.S. Embassy statement, critical of the ruling party over abolishing the State Inspector’s Service and judiciary moves, “unfair” and “wrong.”

Claiming that the statement contained “factual” and “human errors,” MP Kobakhidze said such statements “undermine the Georgian public’s trust in western partners.”

He said “human errors, false information, and so on” can serve “neither as an explanation nor a justification” for the public.

The ruling party chairperson said the GD has often taken the advice of international partners into account, albeit added that “there are, unfortunately, exceptional cases when we hear unfair and wrong assessments on their part and this is another such example.”

As one example of a “factual error” in the statement, he denied “abolishing” the State Inspector’s Service as cited in the Embassy’s statement. “In fact, [the State Inspector’s] Service was split into two parts, and its competencies were not limited but, on the contrary, the authority of this service has been in total expanded.”

“Unfortunately, a wrong and unfair statement has been made, to which we have to respond with proper information,” MP Kobakhidze concluded.

In a starkly worded statement, the U.S. Embassy slammed the ruling party on January 3 for undermining government accountability by abolishing the State Inspector’s Service, and undermining faith in the judiciary by appointing yet another Supreme Court justice using “a flawed selection process.”

The criticism followed the GD voting in the December 30 extraordinary Parliament session to dissolve the State Inspector’s Service, an outspoken independent agency tasked with monitoring personal data protection and probing abuse of power, in defiance of local and international outcry. The changes foresee creating two new separate bodies tasked with probing abuse of power by law enforcement and monitoring data privacy.

The critics raised concerns, among others, about the process to dismantle the agency being rushed and non-transparent, as well as about the potential intentions of the ruling party to punish State Inspector Londa Toloraia for the scrutiny over possible mistreatment of hunger-striking jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. Over a hundred agency staffers losing their jobs sparked additional fears.

The ruling party has argued against criticism that the bill would increase investigative capacities of a new separate agency to probe abuse of power.

NB: This article has been updated for ease of clarity. The last update on 16:10.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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