Georgia’s Prime Minister reacts to ex-president’s indictments

In a special statement Garibashvili emphasized the investigation process would be transparent., 29 Jul 2014 - 17:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is welcoming the official investigation into the indictments against ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and several former high ranking officials and says the investigation will be "absolutely open”.

In a special statement released today, Garibashvili emphasized the investigation process would be transparent and all parties involved would have an opportunity to fully analyse all evidence presented in the case.

The Georgian Government welcomes a fair trial, which is the only way to ensure Georgia's legal system continues to adhere to the highest international standards, Garibashvili said.
Our ultimate goal is to construct a truly democratic state where everyone is equal before the law and not a single person is allowed above the law, he said.
Today, without regard to politics, the Chief Prosecutor took an important step in holding those that may have broken the law accountable. This process is absolutely transparent - people of Georgia and those around the world, all our partners and allies, will have the opportunity to judge themselves the evidence presented in this serious case, he added.

The Prime Minister believed Georgian citizens demanded "a system that holds all Georgians accountable for their actions no matter their position” and said the Government was doing its best to meet this standard. He said the people of Georgia had expressed confidence in the Georgian Dream-led Government to build a "fair and strong” system.

On October 1, 2012, the Georgian Government was elected with a clear mission to create a justice system that the Georgian people deserve, a system that is fair and strong. Thus, we were equipped with a mandate that obliges us to thoroughly perform this task, he stated.

At the end of his statement Garibashvili emphasized the independence of the court and said it was removed from political influence from outside parties.

Over the past two years this Government has strongly supported the establishment of the rule of law with the help of our international allies. Judicial independence from the Government has increased and politics are removed from the judicial process by making the Office of the Chief Prosecutor an autonomous body, law enforcement agencies and the army is completely depoliticized, the rights of business, private property and the freedom of media are guaranteed. The state provides equal protection to all citizens under the law, an end has been put to the torture in the prisons [and] the rights of defendants have been enhanced, Garibashvili said.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office officially filed criminal charges against ex-President Saakashvili and other former high ranking officials yesterday.

The criminal case pertains to violent dispersal of anti-governmental mass protests on November 7, 2007; unlawful raiding of Imedi television company by riot police and illegal take-over of property owned by late media tycoon Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili.

In a special statement the Chief Prosecutor's Office said the investigation against Saakashvili and his co-offenders was ongoing under Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which prescribed the deprivation of liberty and had a prison sentence from five to eight years.