We, the signatory organizations, respond to the arrest of the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. Four criminal cases have been filed against the third president; he has been convicted for two of these and still under prosecution for the other two. At present, Mikheil Saakashvili calls his arrest politically motivated and is on a hunger strike in protest. According to his doctor, the prisoner’s health condition is deteriorating.
We would like to remind the public that for years, including when the Georgian Dream was in power, the justice system could not meet even the minimum requirements of the rule of law and justice for all. Too often, the ruling political force would completely ignore the criticism and recommendations of local and international organizations about systemic shortcomings in the justice system and the risks of political justice. Despite the numerous legislative changes and so-called “reform”, the judiciary is still characterized by a high degree of politicization, while the executive does not shy away from strengthening political influence over the independent branch of government.
Clear examples of this are several statements made by the Prime Minister of Georgia in the case of Mikheil Saakashvili, where he openly and unequivocally confirms that the conviction of the third president of Georgia is of political nature, is conditioned by the decision of the ruling political force and has nothing to do with impartial and independent justice.
We would like to note here that politically motivated justice is inadmissible and unacceptable regardless of whether the person is guilty or not. Moreover, the administration of such justice makes it virtually impossible to determine the issue of a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Such a process is of a completely formal nature, biased and contrary to the basic requirements of the rule of law.
Therefore, we believe that the guilt or innocence of the third President of Georgia could be established only if he is allowed to fully enjoy due process and the right to a fair trial. At the same time, in the environment where the judiciary is characterized by clan governance, loyalty to the government and the implementation of defective justice, as well as the public confidence in this institution is catastrophic, in these conditions, the possibility of Mikheil Saakashvili’s right to a fair trial becomes questionable. For that reason, the responsibility for this lies with the current government, which, through its own political decisions and legal mechanisms, encourages such practices.
In view of all the above, we call on the authorities and the President of Georgia to use the legislative mechanisms at their disposal to prevent the use of political justice against Mikheil Saakashvili.