Thursday, June 17, 2010

PACE President calls for full implementation of Resolution 1683

During a press conference organised at the end of his official visit to Georgia from 13 to 15 June, PACE President Mevlüt Çavusoglu stressed that by coming to Georgia early in his Presidency he wanted to show the importance he attached to the country, its ongoing democratic reforms as well as its plight after the August 2008 war.

He said his talks had focused on the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia and the role that the Council of Europe, and especially PACE, could and should play in this respect as well as the ongoing democratic reforms and outstanding commitments of Georgia to the Council of Europe.

He stressed that with regard to the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia, he had re-iterated PACE’s firm support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and called on all sides to fully implement the demands PACE had made, in particular in its Resolution1683, which addresses crucial humanitarian issues affecting the daily life of the inhabitants in this region.

“These demands focus on the freedom of movement of civilians over the administrative borders with the two regions; access, and more important, the presence of monitors as well as international and humanitarian organisations; the right to return of IDPs; a full and credible investigation into alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed by any side, including Georgia, in relation to the war,“ he recalled.

With regard to ongoing democratic reforms, the PACE President welcomed that the last local elections were considered a big improvement by international monitors, whilst stressing the need to adress remaining important shortcomings. A new election code should be drafted with the help of the Venice Commission, and in dialogue and consultation with both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition, well before the next parliamentary elections, the President said.

He also called on the authorities to strengthen dialogue with all opposition forces on issues deemed important for the development of the country and welcomed reforms aimed at consolidating democracy and strengthening the role of the parliament.

He finally expressed his concern about complaints brought to his attention with regard to decreasing media pluralism and lack of transparency with regard to media ownership, the independence of the judiciary, especially in cases that have political implications, as well as allegations that political motives had affected the prosecution and sentencing of persons. “I met a woman on hunger strike in front of the Council of Europe office who claimed her brother was in prison for political reasons. If true, this would be unacceptable and I will ask the President to investigate,” he said.

“These are worrying issues that could directly affect the further European integration of Georgia. I will therefore ask the PACE co-rapporteurs for Georgia to organise a visit in the very near future, giving priority to these important human rights issues, he said.

The state of affairs with respect to the repatriation of the Meskhetian population had also been discussed, the President said, an issue of importance to PACE and close to his heart.

During his vist, the PACE President met the President of the Republic Mikhail Saakashvili, the Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze, the Vice-Prime Minister and State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili, the Foreign Minister Gregory Vashadze and the State Minister of Refugees and Accommodation Koba Subeliani. He also met the Chairman of the Constitutional Court George Papuashvili, representatives of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition, the Governor of the Shida Kartli Region Lado Vardzelashvili and the Chairman of the Government of Adjara Levan Varshalomidze.

To download Resolution 1683 log on

Source: Council of Europe. Published in Strasbourg on 16 June 2010

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