The peaceful transfer of power as the result of the free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in October 2012 is a major accomplishment that should enable Georgia to move forward towards democratic consolidation and fully functional pluralistic democracy. However, right after the elections, the new Georgian authorities have taken steps against former officials and other members of the current political opposition that appear to be motivated by political considerations.
The pre-trial detention of the former Prime Minister and Secretary General of the largest opposition party, Mr Ivane Merabishvili, as well as the criminal charges against more than 100 former officials and members of the opposition have given rise to particular concerns. These actions, as well as the undemocratic takeover of more than two thirds of elected local authorities throughout Georgia call into question the Government’s commitment to continued democratic development of Georgia, which must include respect for basic freedoms for all, including for the opposition.
We would also like to urge the Georgian authorities to take specific measures to ensure the effective independence of the judiciary. We condemn verbal attacks by senior political representatives on Georgian judges, who rejected requests by the prosecutor’s office to place former officials in pre-trial detention.