Joint Statement of NGOs regarding Assault of Lasha Tordia, Auditor General of Georgia
We, the undersigning organizations, express our outrage regarding the assault committed against Lasha Tordia, the Auditor General of Georgia. According to the statement made by Lasha Tordia, he was attacked by Otar Partskhaladze, a former Chief Prosecutor and, together with his security personnel, physically assaulted him, which is particularly alarming. The victim notes that the assault was related to a specific case which the Auditor’s Office is investigating. According to Lasha Tordia, the case involves transfer of plots of land in 2016 and Otar Partskhaladze’s name is involved in the case.
Later it was reported that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia started its investigation under Article 126 of the Criminal Code of Georgia which criminalizes battery and other violent acts. However, assaulting a head of a state entity created under the Constitution, which is probably related to its duties, cannot be considered as any other case of battery and violence. It is important that the investigation also covers the crime committed against governing institutions, more specifically violence against governmental officers related to their official capacity.
This is an assault on a head of a state entity which was created under the Constitution of Georgia. Also, it allegedly involves a former Chief Prosecutor, Otar Partskhaladze, whose informal influence on law enforcement agencies raises questions in the society. For this reason, it is important that the investigation is conducted by an investigative commission of the Parliament of Georgia. Otherwise the ongoing investigation will not enjoy public trust.
It should also be noted that the public has been a witness of multiple violent acts in the recent period which the law enforcement agencies have not been able to effectively investigate. Among these cases, the victims point out that there are instances of alleged involvement of representatives of law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the current law enforcement system does not seem to be able to effectively respond to these cases as the investigations continue in perpetuity. Such impunity is a reason to the proliferation of violent acts in the public space and creates a sense of insecurity. It is particularly alarming when current or former officials are allegedly involved in these cases. Such facts and the trend of ineffective investigations again remind us of the need to create an independent investigative mechanism which will investigate cases where alleged involvement of representatives of law enforcement agencies can be shown.
We call on:
- The investigative agencies to timely disclose information on the investigations held so far;
- The Parliament of Georgia to create an interim investigative commission for timely and impartial investigation of the case;
- The Government of Georgia and the Parliament of Georgia to take timely steps to address the problem of impunity and to create an effective independent investigative mechanism.
Transparency International Georgia
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
International Society of Fair Elections and Democracy
Partnership for Human Rights (PHR)
Article 42 of the Constitution
Georgian Democracy Initiative