PM Irakli Garibashvili said in a written statement after prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili that his government was mandated by voters to create a system where everyone would be equal before the law.
PM said that in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections through which GD came into power, the “government received a clear task from the people to create a legal system they deserve and that first and foremost entails creating fair system.”
“We have received a mandate from the people which obligates us to thoroughly implement this task,” reads PM’s statement. “Georgian people want to once and for all put an end to impunity, which had reined in our country for years. Georgian people demand from the government, which they have elected, to create such a system, where every citizen will be held accountable to the law for committing a crime and where holding of a public office cannot serve as an indulgence.”
He said that over the past two years the government with the assistance from Georgia’s international partners has “maximally fostered establishment of principles of rule of law”, the judiciary is “no longer experiencing government’s influence” and the police and the army are “completely depoliticized.” The PM said that media and business are free and citizens “all the fundamental rights are fully protected.”
“Without being stirred by political motives, the chief prosecutor took an important step and filed charges against those individuals, who have allegedly violated the law,” Garibashvili said.
“The process is absolutely open – Georgian people and the entire world, all of our partner and friendly states, everyone having an interest towards [the case] will have a possibility to analyze fully without any restriction evidence available in this important case.”
He also said that the government welcomes “objective investigation because that is the way through which we will be able to make Georgia’s legal system compatible with the highest international standards.”
Four U.S. Senators said in their joint statement that they are “extremely disappointed and concerned” with filing of criminal charges against Saakashvili, adding that the move “imposes unnecessary challenges in moving our relationship forward.”
Commenting on this statement by Senators John McCain, Jim Risch, Jeanne Shaheen and Ben Cardin, Georgia’s Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said: “Of course I respect Senators very much – they are real friends of Georgia. I understand that they have some concerns, but let them wait for the justice and respect Georgia’s laws.”
Alasania said that due process should be fully observed and legal proceedings should be completely impartial and transparent in order not to trigger doubts among Georgia’s Western partners that the prosecution is politically motivated.
“It is also a warning for next governments, and first and foremost for our government that holding of a public office does not mean having all the rights and that everyone is equal before the law,” Alasania said.