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NGOs:  Authorities are Failing To Respond To the Sanctioning of Judges

A joint statement issue by local non-governmental organizations on October 30 says that “the authorities are failing to respond to the sanctioning of judges and former chief prosecutor”. The statement, signed by more than 50 CSOs criticizes the Georgian authorities for “defending the interests of those sanctioned, disregarding the legislation and trying to downplay the negative consequences caused by the sanctions by conducting anti-Western propaganda.” 

The NGOs refer to the cases of judges sanctioned by the U.S.- Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, and Irakli Shengelia; a former judge, Valerian Tsertsvadze; as well as the case of the former Chief Prosecutor, Otar Partskhaladze. “We believe that both cases of sanctioning took place due to alarming reasons,” – reads the statement. The statement notes that “the Georgian public has been aware of the existence of corrupt activities and political interests in the judiciary”, as well as of “Partskhaladze’s informal influence in Georgia’s political and business circles”, and considers sanctions imposed by the US as an additional evidence in this regard. The statement reads that the law enforcement agencies have shown a “lenient” attitude towards Partskhaladze, which they describe “bewildering”. The NGOs emphasize that “instead of responding effectively to this issue”, the acting President of the National Bank of Georgia, Natia Turnava, has tailored the rules on enforcement of sanctions to accommodate the former Chief Prosecutor, calling it an illustration of “state capture”, while the law enforcement agencies also have allowed Otar Partskhaladze to leave the country. 

The CSOs conclude that “the Georgian authorities are apparently protecting the persons sanctioned by the U.S. Naturally, such an approach causes further damage to the country’s reputation and to the trust of international partners in the Georgian authorities.”

CSOs call on the Georgian authorities “to stop protecting sanctioned persons,” and thus distancing Georgia from the West. They also call on the Georgian authorities to “provide an adequate response, and take concrete steps to redress the damage caused to the country by the fact of sanctions.”

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