President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili has vetoed controversial amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, adopted by the Georgian Dream Parliament on June 7 which increased the scope of crimes that allow for covert investigative actions and the duration of these actions.
Announcing the decision at the special briefing today, President Zurabishvili said her veto — the first one since she took the office in 2018 — should be seen as her dissent with the bill that restricts human rights.
Recognizant that the Georgian Dream lawmakers will override the veto, the President pledged to nevertheless veto any controversial bill in the coming six months — hinting at a timeframe Georgian Dream Government has to meet EU conditions to secure the candidate status in the 27-member bloc.
“There can be no law passed these days that further restricts human rights, when on the contrary we are asked to give more guarantees in this direction, to be more democratic, more European.”
Earlier, EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell lambasted the bill, asserting that the changes “significantly reduce Georgian citizens’ right to privacy.”
He said, “We take note of the fact that Georgia continues to introduce important legislative amendments through rushed Parliamentary processes, without the necessary domestic or international consultations and without properly analyzing their compliance with European standards.” MORE
The bill also dismayed Georgian civil society organizations, that urged President Zurabishvili to veto the “disturbing” amendments, saying “the adopted bill falls well short of international norms of human rights protection and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights.” MORE