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Georgian lawyers and opposition in favour of Saakashvili’s resignation2008-10-23 11:39
Georgian lawyers will join the action planned for 7th November in front of Georgia's parliament, when they will put forward radical demands. As the Georgian agency GHN reports, the head of the organization ‘Prisoners' Brotherhood' Lali Aptsiauri made an announcement reiterating this.
According to Aptsiauri, the main demand of the Georgian lawyers will be the resignation of Mr. Saakashvili. At the same time they are calling for the opposition to take action. If this does not happen, they will declare their distrust for them as well.
As Aptsiauri stressed, the lawyers argue their position noting that for a whole month the president has been reporting of the start of a new wave of democracy, but this wave has not yet reached judicial practice.
Georgia's lawyers have already carried out protest actions several times. In spring this year they carried out a three-day strike, demanding that the authorities guarantee the independence of the courts. In the opinion of the strikers, they have been effectively deprived of their ability to perform their professional duties. Lawyers and representatives of non-governmental organizations have regularly protested to the state prosecutors, demanding in particular a review of unlawful sentences and the revival of the right to use video recordings during judicial proceedings.
The lawyer Gia Meparishvili, professor at Tbilisi State University, declared immediately after the presidential elections which took place in January that Georgia's judicial system was in a catastrophic state. "There are almost no verdicts of ‘not-guilty'. In Soviet times between 1982 and 1989 the ratio of these verdicts wavered between 1.4 and 2%, whereas today it is equal to 0.5%. That means that the work of our courts is ineffective. Decisions are now made solely on the basis of materials gathered during the investigation, without the oral hearing of the various sides. At appeal and review hearings decisions are sometimes taken by just a single judge." According to Meparishvili, they might admit complaints to be re-examined, but they also might not. They will be accepted if it is in the interests of judicial practice and research.
The Georgian authorities have repeatedly made announcements about the judicial reform which is being prepared with the intention of helping democracy to flourish in the country. But they have still not got round to it.