The Parliament of Georgia has started discussions of an amnesty bill concerning the June 2019 protests. The bill was initiated by the ruling Georgian Dream party and was discussed during the first hearing last week.
Before the first hearing of the bill, the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition were unable to come to an agreement on the amnesty bill, initiated according to the EU-mediated agreement signed by the ruling party and the majority of opposition parties back in April 2021.
Lelo opposition party MP Badri Japaridze stated that the bill presented by the ruling party ‘will not be supported by the parliamentary opposition.’
The Georgian Dream states that all opposition remarks will be taken into account during the second hearing. It is forgotten why the amnesty appeared in the EU-mediated agreement. It has appeared there because the politically motivated prosecution should be stopped in this country. This amnesty issue is there because the prosecution against Nika Melia is still ongoing and we always raise the issue, calling for a stop to prosecution in all cases with a political motive. What is written there is that the amnesty should cover all violations, but not theoretical ones,” Badri Japaridze commented.
The parliamentary opposition party Strategy Ahgmashenebeli’s secretary general Paata Manjgaladze also underlined that there is a disagreement regarding the bill.
“The Georgian Dream explains that for the amnesty there is no need for Nika Melia’s agreement to this, it is just enough if he does not deny it. It is unacceptable for the opposition”, says Manjgaladze.
The representative of the opposition party Girchi says that they support the bill draft presented by the ruling party during the first hearing and will wait for a second hearing to see if their notes will be accepted.
The opposition’s version of the amnesty bill is in my opinion against the Charles Michel’s spirit, that is why we do not support it. The draft by the opposition is not in line with the agreement we have signed in two parts. First, there is only mention of three policemen, and the second part, that the agreement of the victim is needed [for the amnesty]. It is not correct to divide the victims and to divide the persons under prosecution into police and protesters”, says the head of the party Girchi Iago Khvichia.
The opinion of Fridon Injia from the opposition European Socialists party is why should an amnesty bill be passed when there is no such precedent in the past after the dispersal of rallies of other protests.
“There were so many violations of power during the dispersal of the rallies, even finished with the death of people, but we remember that there was no amnesty announced after these cases. This amnesty is a human act and we do support any amnesty which is for the stabilisation in the country. But maybe it is better to take this bill out of the agenda and to continue to do the things really needed for the country,” says Injia.
June 2019 protests were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament.
Several opposition leaders, including the head of the United National Movement opposition party Nika Melia faces charges for violence during the protests.