Gov’t “demanding evidence” for US sanctions on judges - Vice PM

  • Thea Tsulukiani, the current Minister of Culture, previously served as the Minister of Justice. Photo: Justice Ministry press office, 10 Apr 2023 - 14:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

Thea Tsulukiani, the Georgian Vice Prime Minister, on Monday said her Government was “demanding evidence” behind the United States Department of State’s decision to impose visa restrictions on four Georgian judges for alleged corruption. 

In her comments for the media following the sanctioning of the current and former judges last week, Tsulukiani claimed unfair treatment from foreign governments by saying “everyone not too lazy to do it is posing tests to our country”, and stressed Tbilisi was demanding “evidence, playing by the rules and equality”. 

In her listing of the alleged unfair attitudes to her Government, the official also cited last year’s refusal of the European Council to grant the European Union membership candidate status to Georgia while accepting applications by Ukraine and Moldova.

It is a test when the bloc unfairly rejects Georgia's membership and promotes Moldova and Ukraine - who are our friendly countries but far behind our country and our people in terms of progress and reforms”, she said.

It is also a test when you tell our country that its opinion does not count, that ‘I can discipline your judge in the way I want, without evidence’. This is why we are demanding evidence, playing by the rules and equality”, Tsulukiani added. 

The State Department on Wednesday imposed visa restrictions on judges Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia and Valerian Tsertsvadze for their alleged “involvement in significant corruption”, and said 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”.

The judges and officials from the ruling Georgian Dream party have called the decision “unfair” and “groundless”.