Ruling party official claims NGOs “waging Soviet-style campaign” against independence of judiciary

In his remarks over the matter, Mdinaradze alleged domestic NGOs were “stigmatising the judiciary and judges”. Photo: Georgian Dream Press Office, 03 Apr 2024 - 15:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Mamuka Mdinaradze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party in the Parliament, on Wednesday claimed domestic non-governmental organisations were “waging a Soviet-style campaign” against the independence of the domestic judiciary.

The comment came after the parliamentary majority on Wednesday decided to resubmit its bill on the transparency of foreign influence - the controversial draft law that was retracted last year following public protests - that would designate organisations that derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power”.

In his remarks over the matter, Mdinaradze alleged domestic NGOs were “stigmatising the judiciary and judges”.

"Despite the fact that NGOs have thus far failed to present court cases that would demonstrate the existence of systemic or even relatively serious non-systemic problems within the judiciary, they still persist in carrying out the above campaign and, using non-transparent finances, they are trying to undermine this important state institution to this day”, Mdinaradze said.

The official further claimed “wealthy” NGOs and “radical” parties were “attacking the judiciary because of cases that are of particular importance to the collective United National Movement opposition”, adding the non-governmental organisations had “actively tried to discredit the court and specific judges” over the topics.

We would like to remind you that the European Court of Human Rights upheld decisions of Georgian courts in all cases, which poured cold water on the campaign of these NGOs’”, he said.  

Mdinaradze further said the development “demonstrated that the rule of law and basic human rights were worthless to the so-called non-governmental sector”.

“In addition, NGOs are actively involved in dissemination of pseudo-liberal ideology and so-called LGBT propaganda, in campaigns that aim to undermine public trust in the Georgian Orthodox Church, support political intervention in Georgia under a religious pretext, in actions directed against Georgia’s energy independence, and so on”, he said.

He also alleged international donors of the organisations had “not taken responsibility for anti-state actions and the radical agenda of the wealthy NGOs”.

Likewise, no one has taken responsibility for the foreign-funded fake campaign to delegitimise the elections, conducted in 2020 by a number of media outlets belonging to the radical opposition”, the party official claimed.

“Most concerning of all is the fact that this hysterical campaign came to be headed by a person who held the status of the Ambassador of one of the countries. In reality, however, this person represented the interests not of this country but of the Global War Party in Georgia”, Mdinaradze claimed in an apparent reference to the former US Ambassador Kelly Degnan.

The lawmaker also alleged the developments had later revealed the Ambassador “had a lot to hide”.