Speaking to journalists on 24 November, at the House of Justice’s presentation of “EU Agenda, Justice Reform,” President Salome Zurabishvili noted that she is “closely” monitoring ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s health condition on a daily basis.
Emphasizing that “this is a very important issue for the country’s reputation and our dignity,” the President remarked that representatives of her Administration regularly meet with the Consiliums created to monitor Saakashvili’s condition. “Such a meeting is scheduled today,” she added.
While underscoring that she, herself, may not have the necessary expertise to make an appropriate conclusion on Saakashvili’s health, the President emphasized that “if there is such a conclusion, it should be presented to the Court and the Court should make a dignified decision.”
“I believe that this is the most correct path, and I have said this many times abroad and at closed meetings,” she said, adding that “this will solve the problem in two directions.”
Per President Zurabishvili, on the one hand, this will solve the health issues faced by the ex-President, and, on the other hand, “this will guarantee that the Court is independent, which will b no less important for the country.”
She also expressed the wish for the Court to “approve” such a decision if an assessment of Saakashvili’s health does show that he is in serious condition and in need of being transferred abroad while noting that it is likely the ex-President’s lawyers who should file the appropriate claim in Court.
To a journalist’s question – if there is a conclusion that Mikheil Saakashvili is really very ill, does the President consider his transfer abroad to be realistic? – President Zurabishvili answered, “this is the right path, there is no other path.”
The President added, however, that “it all depends on the Consilium, on their conclusion.”
“[The conclusion] should be very clear and it should be presented to the Court by the lawyers,” she said while expressing the “hope” that in such an event, the Court will make the correct decision.
Significantly, the President also addressed Saakashvili’s deteriorating health and her ability to pardon him in a recent interview on BBC’s Hard Talk. She stated during that interview that according to Georgian legislation she does not “have the power [to pardon him] for one very simple reason which is that sentencing is not closed, it is still being judged, and that’s the law in Georgia that a pardon can intervene only once everything is finished.”
Pressed in a follow-up on whether she will pardon him after the sentencing, she explained, “That’s another issue, I’ve explained at length in Georgia, why I would not do it because it’s a factor for major polarization.”