Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Wednesday highlighted a lack of Western sanctions on the Georgian judiciary under the previous United National Movement Government, where he said the system had been used as a “repressive tool”, in comments following the United States Department of States’ sanctioning of four current and former Georgian judges.
The DoS on Wednesday sanctioned Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia and Valerian Tsertsvadze under the visa restrictions authority, alleging they had “abused their positions as court chairmen and members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system”.
In his response, Kobakhidze said there was “evidence that proves that during the [former President Mikheil] Saakashvili and [his Justice Minister Zurab] Adeishvili era, the judiciary was systematically used as a repressive tool - people died, property was confiscated through the courts, [but] no one was sanctioned”.
The party official stressed high-ranking officials of the previous Government had “directly” managed the system and turned the judiciary into a “repressive mechanism”.
Prisons were overcrowded, the court was used as an instrument of business racketeering and pressure on people. Do you remember even one person who was sanctioned then? There are a million facts about this”, he said.
"The creators of this system in Georgia were Saakashvili and Adeishvili, and they enjoyed patronage until the end - they travelled to Europe and America, and Adeishvili is still doing this. Adeishvili - the creator of the blood-stained system - is still under the patronage. This is the reality and the public knows it”, Kobakhidze added.
I think whoever brought this document to Blinken to sign made a very big mistake as well as committed a crime - I say this with confidence, and the consequences of this mistake will be seen in the future”, Kobakhidze concluded.