Ruling party head on sanctions exemption for citizens without court judgement: punishing citizens without court verdict “thing of past”

In his remarks over the matter, Kobakhidze noted the Government was “required to protect any citizen of Georgia". Photo: Georgian Dream Press Office, 20 Sep 2023 - 14:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

Iraikli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Wednesday said "punishing citizens without a court verdict" had become a "thing of the past”, in comments on the Georgian National Bank’s decision to exempt Georgian citizens from the international sanctions in Russia for its invasion of Ukraine without domestic court judgement.

The restriction reverses the Bank’s decision earlier on Tuesday to restrict access to bank assets and financial transactions to Otar Partskhaladze, the former Prosecutor General of the country who was last week sanctioned by the United States Department of State for alleged ties with Russia.

In his remarks over the matter, Kobakhidze noted the Government was “required to protect any citizen of Georgia".

[Let them] provide evidence and the sanctions will be applied to everyone. Punishing citizens without a court verdict, the racketeering of business, is a thing of the past”, Kobakhidze said in a reference to the previous United National Movement Government. 

Kobakhidze also accused a part of the domestic opposition of failing to support interests of "either the state or Georgian citizens" as “they are foreign agents”. 

This country has a constitution that is in full compliance with international legal acts in the field of human rights, and the constitution protects the right to property, the presumption of innocence, and all state bodies must act in accordance with the constitution, international agreements, and human rights”, the ruling party head continued.

The comments also followed a physical confrontation between MPs of the Georgian Dream party and the Parliamentary opposition earlier today at the legislative venue. 

The incident reportedly started after a group of opposition MPs approached Kobakhidze while he was giving comments and accused him of being a “Russian spy”.