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Human Rights Watch to Georgia's Govt: Make Rights a Priority
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Feb.'13 / 02:56

Georgia’s new government needs "to rectify the troubling human rights problems it inherited," but while addressing past abuses, it should avoid politically motivated prosecutions, ensure public scrutiny of its actions, and make the worst abuses a top priority, the Human Rights Watch said on January 31.

“New government is under pressure to deliver human rights improvements fast,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But in the process it shouldn't make shortcuts at the expense of rights.”

The rights group also says that the new government, which came into office after the October parliamentary elections and peaceful transfer of power, still has to prove that it can protect rights while rectifying past abuses.

It said that the authorities should ensure that dozens of former officials from the previous government, arrested after the Georgian Dream coalition came into power, to have full due process rights and that all trials "strictly comply with international fair trial norms." The rights group also called for full public scrutiny of these upcoming trials. The Parliament has already amended the law lifting media restrictions in courtrooms for pending high-profile trials.

The Human Rights Watch said that the new government should consider establishing "specialized Criminal Review Unit to deal with the past miscarriage of justice. Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani announced on January 29 about intention to propose a draft law on setting up of an independent temporary commission to review disputed court verdicts

The Human Rights Watch has called on the Georgian authorities to reform country's system of administrative detention. The rights group released last January a report on Georgia's "flawed" administrative offenses system, which, it said, lacks full due process and fair trial rights for defendants.

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