PACE member Jensen unhappy with “partisan” report on Georgia

Michael Aastrup Jensen; Photo by M. Hald, 13 Oct 2014 - 14:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) member is unhappy and calling the latest resolution of the Assembly on the functioning of democratic institutions in Georgia biased and in favour of political opposition party United National Movement (UNM).

"If I were in the Government of Georgia or a Member of Parliament from [ruling party] Georgian Dream (GD), I would say that it is a partisan report. Now this is a UNM report,” Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark, ALDE) said in an interview with Tbilisi-based newspaper Kviris Palitra.

A resolution on ‘the functioning of democratic institutions in Georgia’ generated controversial response from Georgian and PACE officials, as on the one hand it welcomed comprehensive reforms announced by local authorities, but at the same time it mentioned instances of selective justice and the arrest of the ex-government officials in Georgia. It also focused on polarization.

The Assembly concluded on October 1 that Georgia will have to "overcome the antagonism, polarization and sense of revenge” still present in order to continue its democratic development.

Jensen, who co-authored the resolution based on the opinions of himself and monitoring co-rapporteur Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), expressed his "dissatisfaction” about the content of the resolution at that time and said "this kind of documents would not assist the country”.

Jensen believed this it was not a report of the two co-rapporteurs and blamed the European People’s Party’s (EPP) for adopting a resolution that, in his opinion, "was not helpful for anyone”.

"It is not a report of two co-rapporteurs who have been in Georgia many times and have been following the country’s development, now it is EPP’s report. It’s not a helpful report for the Georgian Dream or for UNM. That is just a partisan report,” he said.

He believed there was an ongoing lobby war within PACE.

"If that’s the case and they only care about their lobbying interests and motivations and not about who is right and who is wrong then what value does this resolution have then? You know, we are trying to help the country, the Georgian Government and also the minority in order to have a more democratic society, a more European level of democracy,” he said.

During the interview Jensen emphasized the conclusion of the resolution had been exaggerated, as it stated the country would have to "overcome the antagonism, polarization and sense of revenge” still present in order to continue its democratic development.

"The resolution ended on a very negative note instead of a positive note as we intended. The arrests of UNM members overshadowed all the positive notes and I do not agree with that,” he said.

However he said he agreed with the UNM arrests as "selective justice”.

"Selective justice is not good. But no matter if you are a former president… whoever you are no one is above the law. If you have done anything that is against the law, you should answer for it,” Jensen said.

The resolution was supported by 103 Assembly members while 27 were against it. The Georgian delegation did not vote for the resolution. Jensen abstained from the vote while his monitoring co-rapporteur, Cilevics, voted no.