Government slammed due to delaying launch of proposed commission

22 prisoners hunger strike, demanding the commission to be launched, 29 Nov 2013 - 00:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Public defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili criticizes the Governments decision about delaying launch of the Commission on Miscarriages of Justice. Nanuashvili realizes all the complications the commission may cause, but he still believes that justice has to be restored.

The government was planning to create a commission to look through alleged miscarriages of justice cases. Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said that the commission would not be launched at this stage.

"No one is against of setting up this commission, but if a person is acquitted, it will then allow such person to seek restitution through civil lawsuit. Today our country is not financially ready for that. It was the only reason why such a commission was seemed to be premature at this stage, Tsulukiani said on November 28.

Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) also disliked the governmental decision. As said in their statement, they fully understand that the new government inherited a difficult situation in regard of human rights, but this problem needs to be fixed, even if it costs much.

According to proposal, the commission would be authorized to study applications filed by those who think that they were unfairly convicted in cases involving "grave or "especially grave crimes; those convicted for "less grave crimes, would also have the right to apply for review of their cases if they were sentenced to imprisonment. It was also proposed to give the commission authority to look into those cases which were settled through plea bargaining, in particular by assessing whether these plea bargain deals were made in conformity with relevant procedures set by the law or not.

Council of Europes advisory body for legal affairs, Venice Commission, said its opinion on this bill that, massive examination of possible cases of miscarriage of justice by a non-judicial body "raises issues as regards the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. It recommended the Georgian authorities to make it explicit in the draft that decision in cases which are reopened has to remain with the judiciary only.