Civil society organizations call on the Parliament to set up a commission to study high-profile cases
A few days ago the whole country was shocked by the death of Iuri Vazagashvili, who died as a result of an explosion while visiting his son’s grave. Iuri Vazagashvili was the father of Zurab Vazagashili, who was killed in a special operation in 2006. We once again express deep regret and our condolences to the family of the deceased. The Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation under Article 109 of the Criminal Code, entailing premeditated murder with aggravating factors. We welcome the government’s and prosecutor's rapid response and hope that the investigation will be conducted impartially, objectively and in a timely manner. We also hope that the perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
However, it should be noted that long standing cases of high public interest - most of which involve violations of fundamental human rights by law enforcement representatives - remain to be investigated to this day. This is despite the current government’s commitment to set them as a priority after 2012 elections. Public and civil society organizations have publicly demanded the resolution of these cases, but neither the old nor the new government have conducted objective and impartial investigations into most of these cases.
Some of these high-profile cases have indeed been investigated. However, there are still cases with investigations prolonged without any publicly announced reasons. Therefore, we call on the Members and the Speaker of the Parliament:
- to establish a Temporary Parliamentary Commission to investigate the remaining high-profile cases
- to ensure that the Commission regularly reports to the Parliament as well as the public on the results of all ongoing investigations;
- to ensure that civil society organization and all other interested persons are duly notified about the specific dates and times of the commission’s monthly report hearings, and that all attendees are given the opportunity to ask questions and actively participate in the review process.
The creation of a parliamentary commission will exclude the possibility of a conflict of interest, since most high-profile cases involve abuse of power and other legal violations from law enforcement representatives. A parliamentary commission will be able to reveal the identities of those public officials, who might have been involved in legal violations, still hold positions in law enforcement agencies and could improperly influence the investigation. The creation of such a commission will confirm that the Parliamentary majority truly wants the high-profile cases to be investigated effectively.
Transparency International Georgia
Georgian Young Lawyers' Association
Open Society Georgia Foundation
Georgian Bar Association (GBA)
Human Rights Center
Civil Development Agency (CiDA)
Article 42 of the Constitution
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)