Georgia classifies truth02.07.2010 | 17:25
Georgian authorities don't want their citizens to learn truth about investigation into crimes of the current regime. The deputies of now ruling National Movement have proposed to amend the Administrative Code and allow the government to classify information on international cases that the authorities want to hush up. GeorgiaTimes discussed total media control in Georgia with Manana Nachkebia from the New Rights faction and Kakhaber Dzagania from the Labor party of Georgia.
Concentration of power in the hands of the president and limitation of freedom of mass media and courts have become a signature of Georgia's current regime. Opposition forces believe that president Mikheil Saakashvili's main concern now is to preserve power and avoid responsibility to the Georgian people, also for the war in 2008.
One of these days representatives of the Hague tribunal paid a visit to Georgia. They were given information on crimes committed in August 2008. It is still an enigma what kind of information it was. However, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated it is mandatory that those most responsible for serious crimes be investigated. That means Saakashvili - losing people's trust day by day - can be involved too.
In the meantime the opposition and population are getting more dissatisfied over the state of electoral environment in the republic. Despite the fact that international monitors acknowledged local elections on May 30 as generally valid, democratic and free, the opposition has its own view of the voting. The opposition believes that the government simply formalized the election results they had been planning since the electoral process was a farce, not a problem solution mechanism in the country.
That is why excitement of Georgian parliamentarians looks rather curious. Deputies suggest classifying information on the cases involving Georgia in international courts. If these amendments are adopted, all cases now considered in Strasbourg or in Hague will be assigned a "top secret" mark and people of the republic will be subject to more rigorous ideological and information control.
What can the Georgian opposition offer as a response to such an initiative? This is what GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed with Manana Nachkebia, New Rights party executive secretary and Kakhaber Dzagania, Labor Party of Georgia ideological secretary.
What is your attitude to proposed amendments?
Manana Nachkebia: Negative. We believe it's wrong to classify documents of public interest that deal with all spheres of life.
Kakhaber Dzagania: This is just another example of Saakashvili's lawlessness against his people. We are sure this idea emerged after the Labor Party won an unprecedented international case on falsification of republican election in Strasbourg in 2008. The European Court acknowledged the Labor Party as a victim to the regime. This is an unprecedented law practice since for the first time in Europe the complainant was a political party. We told the whole world and people of the country about this lawsuit. I am sure Saakashvili is afraid of courts like that and does not want the claims now under consideration in European courts to be known to people of Georgia. The president decided so in fear that he might lose his authority and position.
Do you think this initiative has anything to do with the war in South Ossetia?
Manana Nachkebia. Sure it is. And not only. There are lots of cases in European courts in which positions of the Georgian state are very unsteady.
Kakhaber Dzagania: It is not the time to say so yet. But it is very likely.
Does that mean the initiative will be adopted?
Manana Nachkebia: It will. Unfortunately, there is no possibility to abrogate this decision despite resistance of the opposition parties.
Kakhaber Dzagania: Sure it will, since we have a de-facto single-party parliament where the opposition is present only formally. Saakashvili has absolute majority in parliament, all his ideas have 100% support.
What does your party plan to do to oppose such laws?
Manana Nachkebia: Unfortunately, Georgia is under authoritarian regime, and the opposition has no levers of influence. If the decision reflects political will of the dominant majority and president, it will be adopted.
Kakhaber Dzagania: We launched the so-called anti-colonial campaign to unveil internal and external political groups that have close financial ties with the president of Georgia and pursue their own interests in the republic lobbying Saakashvili. The Labor Party is holding press conferences naming people that introduce censorship in Georgia.