The United States Embassy to Georgia has denounced hasty legislative amendments proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, stating that the replacement of the State Inspector’s Service with two new agencies ‘undermined government accountability.’
The Georgian government adopted the bill replacing the State Inspector’s Service, which investigated alleged offences committed by state officials and law enforcement agencies, with the Special Investigation and Personal Data Protection services on December 30, despite the calls of foreign diplomats, NGOs and the opposition to pause the process.
The US Embassy also criticised amendments to the Law on Common Courts, noting that it ‘undermines the independence of individual judges.’
U.S. Embassy Statement on the Ruling Party’s Rushed, End-of-Year Legislation https://t.co/ulZvIBm2Yq— U.S. Embassy Tbilisi (@usingeo) January 3, 2022
The ruling party undermined faith in the judiciary by appointing yet another Supreme Court judge using a flawed selection process,” the statement reads.
The embassy also states that ‘no credible reasons were provided’ regarding the acceleration of the process and adoption of the amendments ‘without appropriate consultations.’
The US Embassy adds that the ‘lack of transparent discussion or analysis of the amendments is particularly troubling.’
The statement also emphasises the US’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty and stability ‘through long-standing security cooperation and economic development programmes,’ adding that ‘strong democratic institutions and adherence to the rule of law are the country’s best defences against Russian aggression.’
The message is clear: by marginalizing or abolishing all checks against its executive power, the Georgian gov’t aspires to one-party rule. It’s no wonder Georgia’s friends have begun to doubt the gov’t’s Euro-Atlantic bona fides. https://t.co/fJ4RkBR5k1— Ian Kelly (@ikelly731) January 3, 2022
Steps that weaken democratic institutions, such as the judiciary or independent oversight agencies, damage Georgia’s aspirations for NATO and European Union membership, and undermine the basic freedoms that are the foundation of Georgian culture and society,” the US Embassy says.
Former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly has also responded to recent legislative developments in the country, saying that ‘the Georgian government aspires to one-party rule through marginalising or abolishing all checks against its executive power.’
The ruling party however maintains that the replacement of the State Inspector’s Service with two new agencies will strengthen the body and add additional functions to it.