GD ‘Categorical’ in Urging U.S. to Lift Sanctions on Judges

Mamuka Mdinaradze, a Georgian Dream parliamentary majority leader, “categorically” called on the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, and the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan to lift sanctions against Georgian judges.

“So far we have not seen any evidence that would prove even the relevance of these sanctions, let alone the conditions and real reasons for them,” Mamuka Mdinaradze said on April 1, more than a year after the judges were sanctioned, at the briefing held at the party office.

Claiming that “several judges were sanctioned without any ground” Mdinaradze stressed that “this encourages a petty campaign against the judiciary driven by some representatives of the NGO sector and the UNM, and its various branches” allegedly referring to the criticism of the judiciary “clan” and calls by the CSOs and the opposition to introduce the vetting (integrity checks for judges ) system as stipulated by the EU in its nine conditions for opening accession negotiations.

On April 5, 2023, the U.S. Department of State designated Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia, and Valerian Tsertsvadze, the judges of the Georgian “judicial clan,” under Section 7031(c) visa restriction authorities. According to the statement issued by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “These individuals abused their positions as court Chairmen and Members of High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system.”

In this context, Mdinaradze also mentioned Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze, who claimed that he had been pressured by the U.S. and Michael Gahler, a member of the European Parliament, over his ruling against the then opposition-leaning head of Mtavari Arkhi TV, Nika Gvaramia. The then- U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan denied Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze’s allegations of interference, saying that “any suggestion that the United States has interfered in the judicial process here [in Georgia] is simply not true.” Shortly after his ruling in the Gvaramia case, Chkhikvadze was removed from the U.S. exchange program for Georgian judges. The U.S. side also denied any allegations of a connection between his decision in the Gvaramia case and his removal from the exchange program.

Mdinaradze lamented that “[the U.S.] imposed a visa restriction on Lasha Chkhikvadze, as a result of which he, as a judge, is not allowed to participate in various [exchange] activities.”

Referring to the European Court of Human Rights, Mdinaradze also said that the court had ruled in favor of Chkhikvadze and that he had been “absolutely groundlessly criticized and even bullied.” Mdinaradze added that for all the bad things that have happened to Chkhikvadze and his family, anyone who has even indirectly criticized and “bullied” him “should apologize” to this judge.

“All this is encouraged by everything that is groundless, including groundless sanctions, especially by such a country as the United States of America, which for us is the main strategic partner, our friend,” Mdinaradze said. “Therefore, we are categorical in request or demand, that the sanctions against them be lifted and that our friend does not give a chance to some petty and evil subject to manipulate this fact,” Mdinaradze concluded.

GD majority leader also claimed that “if anything can stir up anti-American and anti-Western sentiments, it is the groundless decisions, such as sanctioning the judges.”

Also Read:

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


Back to top button