The proposal of Georgian Dream
Georgian Dream’s Secretary General, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and the party’s Executive Secretary Irakli Kobakhidze offered MEPs in the European parliament to create a special mission, composed of members of different political groups, to look into the embezzlement case involving opposition leader Gigi Ugulava.
According to Kaladze and Kobakhidze, the mission “will have the full opportunity” to familiarize itself with the case details concerning former Tbilisi Mayor Ugulava, who was convicted for the embezzlement of 48 million GEL.
As Irakli Kobakhidze explained, the creation of such a mission is absolutely possible in the European Parliament. He hopes that the mission will come to Georgia soon and look into the case: “I am sure that the MEPs will see that 48 million GEL was embezzled and will say that such crimes must not be left unpunished”.
Archil Talakvadze - The mission members will have full access to the case materials
Archil Talakvadze, the Speaker of the Parliament, says that the mission members will have full access to the case materials.
“We have proposed to the European Parliament to set up and send a fact-finding mission to Georgia, which will have full access to the materials and circumstances of the case. We are ready and waiting for the conclusion of the European Parliament’s mission. They will be able to see and express their opinion on whether the circumstances in this case have been objectively assessed and the charges have been substantiated”, - said Archil Talakvadze.
PES supported proposal for cross-party political group fact finding mission to Georgia
The Party of European Socialists supported the proposal to send a fact-finding mission of members of European Parliament from the main political families in the European Parliament to Georgia to further investigate the case of Gigi Ugulava.
“We welcome this step to improve the transparency of the Georgian judicial system. A mission led by colleagues from the S&D and the EPP would greatly help scrutinise and assess the substance of this case and bring more clarity. The invitation initially came from the Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze, from the PES observer party Georgian Dream, after controversy created around the trial against Gigi Ugulava, leader of the party European Georgia, now in opposition”, - said the President of PES Sergei Stanishev .
Davit Bakradze on the mission creation proposal - Georgian Dream’s trick to deceive our friends -
Davit Bakradze, leader of European Georgia, already commented on the fact of sending a European Parliament’s fact finding mission over the detention of Gigi Ugulava.
According to him, their party is very skeptical for several reasons.
“First, when a person is already in prison under the verdict of the Supreme Court, we do not see the specific workload of this commission. Such a mission should arrive when the trial is underway and not when a person is arrested under Shalva Tadumadze"s signature.
Second, there is a precedent when, in 2013, OSCE/ODIHR monitors were observing judicial processes at the time and gave a strongly negative conclusion. The Georgian Dream has not paid any attention to this conclusion, as it done in case of Vano Merabishvili, when did not pay any attention to the European Court’s ruling.
Of course, we welcome international involvement, but to our estimation this is just a “trick” of the Georgian Dream in which they try to deceive our friends in order to ones again suppress the fire, like they did it last week, when Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani were persuading the US congressmen that there would be no political persecution in Georgia and that the dialogue was underway and in parallel to it, they detained Gigi Ugulava”, - concluded Davit Bakradze.
Gia Volski - Opponents’ skeptical attitude towards European parliament’s special mission, raises questions
The first deputy speaker of the Parliament Gia Volski, held a special briefing and commented on the initiative to create such mission.
“Of course, it is not surprising to us that our opponents are such skeptical. But this leads to additional questions. Such issues that are so important to the country should be based only on the truth.
Interfering in this process and making negative statements, which we are observing this morning, should raise quite important questions both in the media and in the public.
The arrival of such a mission will be important to us, to you, the public. Not just because we want stability in the political process, but because the public can clearly see the difference between the position we have and the position of our opponents”, - said Gia Volski.
Christian Peres on Ugulava’s case - I would like to be a part of the mission because I am interested in this particular issue
One of the members of the European Parliament Christian Peres says that this “proposal should work well”.
“It was a new proposal. I think this should work well. It is important that more people will come to Georgia and see what is happening there.
We do not yet know the names of the people who will join the delegation, I personally would like to be part of it, because I am interested in this particular issue. Although the European Parliament has no way of looking at the substance of the law, it is a prerogative of the Georgian legal system, but MEPs will come and study the matter in general”, - said Christian Peres.
Statement by leading MEPs on EU-Georgia relations on the case of Gigi Ugulava
While Georgian political circles are discussing the “Dream’s” proposal, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister, the Chair of the delegation to the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee Marina Kaljurand and the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia Sven Mikser issued joint statement on Gigi Ugulava’s case.
According to them, the ruling of the Supreme Court in this case raises questions regarding the procedure, timing and motivation of the decision.
“An independent and impartial judiciary that has the trust of the society is an essential pillar of any democracy. It is also part of Georgia’s commitments within the Association Agreement. Unfortunately, the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Mr Ugulava raises questions regarding the procedure, timing and motivation of the decision. It also further heightens tensions in an already difficult political environment in Georgia. The continuation of dialogue between the parliamentary majority and the opposition is vital for reaching a consensus on electoral reform that best reflects the will of the Georgian people. We will remain in close contact with our partners in the Parliament of Georgia during this crucial time for democracy”.
Donald Tusk - I am concerned by the sentencing of Ugulava
President of the European People’s Party Donald Tusk also commented on the arrest of Gigi Ugulava on Twitter, saying that the current events in Georgia are disturbing.
“I am concerned by the sentencing of Ugulava & targeting of Georgian opposition politicians. The justice system cannot be used to fight political opponents. The ruling elite must guarantee fair competition. The rule of law is essential under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement”, - tweeted Tusk.
Giorgi Vashadze - The authorities will do everything to prevent the European Parliament’s mission from coming to Georgia
Giorgi Vashadze, the chairman of the New Georgia, says that authorities will do everything in order to prevent the European Parliament’s mission from coming to Georgia, because political or legal gaps in the case are obvious.
“On the one hand, they say they want the MEPs to arrive in Tbilisi. On the other hand, I am sure that they will do everything they can to make sure they do not come. Because the Georgian Dream has lost its face. Their words have no price. Probably nobody will met tem neither in US, nor in Brussels, because they say one thing, but do another”, - said Giorgi Vashadze.