The monitoring co-rapporteurs for Georgia from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called upon the Georgian parliament “to consider adopting additional measures” to improve the system of checks and balances and to “further strengthen the position of the opposition with regard to the governance of the country.”
Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden-ALDE) and Titus Corlatean (Romania-SOC), who made a fact-finding visit to Georgia on November 20-22, wrote in their press release on November 28 that they welcomed “the improvement of the constitutional framework” in light of the recent constitutional amendments, but expressed their regret over the postponed introduction of fully proportional elections.
“In the context of the need to strengthen the system of checks and balances, we expressly call upon the authorities to ensure proper parliamentary oversight and control over the national security services,” the co-rapporteurs also wrote, adding that it was “especially important given the reportedly increasing prominence of the security services in the governance of the country, as shown by the planned merger of the Foreign Intelligence and the State Security Services in Georgia.”
The co-rapporteurs also reiterated their “concerns with regard to the abduction of the journalist Afgan Mukhtarli,” and added they were “especially concerned” about reports of harassment of other Azeri residents and asylum seekers in Georgia by persons allegedly connected to the Azerbaijani authorities.
Lundgren and Corlatean touched upon the court case of Turkish citizen Mustafa Emre Çabuk, manager of the Private Demirel College in Tbilisi. The co-rapporteurs said they “took note” of the decision by the Tbilisi City Court to uphold the earlier decision not to grant him a refugee status, and “stressed” that any decisions with regard to asylum requests or possible extradition should be based only on humanitarian and human rights law.
The co-rapporteurs, who monitor the implementation of obligations and commitments by Georgia, met a number of senior interlocutors during their visit to the country, including President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili and others. They also met with officials from the European Union’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia and accompanied a patrol by the mission to the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.