The authorities fail to respond to the sanctioning of judges and former chief prosecutor

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. on the Georgian judges, Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, and Irakli Shengelia; a former judge, Valerian Tsertsvadze; and the former Chief Prosecutor, Otar Partskhaladze, have not been followed by effective steps on the part of the Georgian authorities. On the contrary, since the moment of sanctioning, the authorities have been actively defending the interests of those sanctioned, disregarding the legislation and trying to downplay the negative consequences caused by the sanctions by conducting anti-Western propaganda.   


We believe that both cases of sanctioning took place for alarming reasons. The Georgian society has been talking about the existence of corruption and political interests in Georgia’s judicial system for many years. The sanctioning of judges by the U.S. State Department due to their involvement in corrupt activities is one more piece of important evidence in this regard. In addition, the public was aware of Otar Partskhaladze’s informal influences on Georga’s political and business circles. The lenient attitude of law enforcement agencies towards him was bewildering. For years, his name was associated with a number of criminal acts, although he was not held responsible in any of the cases. And in the statement released by the U.S. Treasury on September 14, the accusation of activities for the benefit of Russian special services was added to all this. The law enforcement agencies have not provided an effective response to this issue; moreover, they allowed Otar Partskhaladze to leave the country.  


Not only is that the sanctions imposed by the U.S. were not followed by a response; the acting President of the National Bank of Georgia, Natia Turnava, tailored the rule of enforcement of sanctions to the former Chief Prosecutor accused of cooperation with Russian special services, which is one more concrete example of state capture manifested in action.  


We think that the Georgian authorities are apparently protecting the persons sanctioned by the U.S. Naturally, such an approach causes further damage to the country’s reputation and to the trust of international partners towards the Georgian authorities. 


We call on the Georgian authorities to stop protecting the interests of the sanctioned persons and distancing the country from the Western space by doing so, provide an adequate response, and take concrete steps to redress the damage caused to the country by the fact of sanctioning.   


Signatory organizations: 


1.     Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)

2.     Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)

3.     International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

4.     Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

5.     Social Justice Center (SJC)

6.     Rights Georgia 

7.     Human Rights Center (HRC)

8.     Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)

9.     Georgian Court Watch 

10.  Democracy Research Institute (DRI)

11.  Sapari 

12.  Civic Idea  

13.  Europe-Georgia Institute (EGI)

14.  Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)

15.  Media Development Foundation (MDF)

16.  Society and Banks 

17.  Green Alternative 

18.  Equality Movement 

19.  Tbilisi Pride 

20.  GrlzWave

21.  Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)

22.  Atlantic Council of Georgia 

23.  Democracy Defenders 

24.  Franklin Club 

25.  Georgia’s Future Academy 

26.  Reforms and Research Group 

27.  Chavchavadze Center 

28.  Institute of Democracy 

29.  Research Institute Gnomon Wise

30.  Civic Engagement and Activism Center (CEAC)

31.  Tsertili

32.  Promote Georgia

33.  Kvemo Kartli Media

34.  Association Deserving Old Age

35.  Civic Movement for Freedom

36.  Media and Communication Educational-Research Center “Media Voice”

37.  Child Welfare League

38.  Abkhazia news

39.  Generations Empowerment Network

40.  Women Fund “Sukhumi”

41.  May Movement

42.  Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG)

43.  GEUT

44.  Employment and Training Center

45.  Civic Movement Chiatura of the Future

46.  Komli

47.  Civic Activity Center – Lakmus

48.  Women's Fund in Georgia (WFG)

49.  EuroClub Kvareli

50.  Democracy Index – Sakartvelo

51.  Association IDPs for IDPs