"Power broker" in a skirt25.03.2013 | 14:50
Will Thea Tsulukiani, Justice Minister in the government of Bidzina Ivanishvili, become a new "power broker"? Such was the name of her predecessor, Zurab Adeishvili, a man with tremendous powers. This gives rise to questions among the skeptics who point to the fact that many employees of the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General's Office who occupied their offices under Adeishvili have remained at their posts under Tsulukiani. What are the arguments of Tsulukiani, and what do the Georgian analysts think about this?
If the Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili really wants to create a state of law, his main contribution to this result is the appointment of Thea Tsulukiani the Minister of Justice. This is indicated by the experts and analysts.
Tsulukiani has worked in France, in the European Court of Human Rights, for about 10 years. Prior to that, she got education at the prestigious French university for civil servants "ENA" (Ecole nationale d'administration).
Tsulukiani's diploma and her law degree have become the focus of attention of the main political opponents of the "Georgian Dream" - Mikheil Saakashvili's party "United National Movement". One of the representatives of the party Goga Khachidze said recently that the current Minister of Justice had no legal education, and she held the position of the Minister violating the law. After several days of searching "Tsulukiani's diploma", the "Nationals" have failed to find fault with the head of the Ministry of Justice, who has presented both the diploma of the University of Georgia and the diploma of the Faculty of Law in France.
One of Tsulukiani's tasks is restoration of public confidence in the Ministry of Justice and Prosecutor General's Office which is part of the Ministry. Former Prosecutor General and concurrently Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili rarely appeared to the general public gave no comments to journalists. But the Georgian businessmen well felt his invisible hand, since Adeishvili had personal account to them. Basically, Adeishvili controlled the redistribution of spheres of influence in the business, for which he used intimidation, threats and even physical violence. Some prosecution employees today remain at their posts, which raises questions to the Minister Tsulukiani.
Thea Tsulukiani has other arguments: "We want to create state institutions, not individuals who will supervise and carry out the reform of the justice system. System should not depend on me or any other Minister, who will take the post after me. We have to create open government structures that will enjoy the trust of the citizens of Georgia", said Tsulukiani during a recent visit to Washington.
Another problem, Tsulukiani intends to solve is elite corruption. Under Mikheil Saakashvili the law enforcement agencies struggled against corruption at a low level and succeeded, but the elite corruption has reached unprecedented proportions. Tsulukiani now intends to create "some kind of system" to eliminate the elite corruption.
Lawyer and expert Gela Nikolaishvili says he has never had any questions with respect to the degree of Thea Tsulukiani or her professionalism. "I think those who are trying to appeal to these issues do not really believe in their truth," Nikolaishvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "Rather, it was a part of political struggle. Not only the head of Ministry of Justice, but also all of her deputies have got education abroad. This is quite a strong team, capable to conduct real reforms in the legal system, not like those like Zurab Adeishvili," says Nikolaishvili.
These reforms, as well as the prosecution of the former government members who have committed specific crimes, have caused an avalanche of criticism of Tsulukiani. Representatives of the "National Movement" have accused Justice Minister of the political persecution of opponents. Tsulukiani was also accused of incompetence, the usurpation of power in the Ministry and other sins. But while the Minister "holds a punch".
Will Tsulukiani dutifully fulfill the orders, coming from the top and persecute political opponents? Experts analyze the possibility that in the future, in parallel to strengthening the position of the "Georgian Dream", there can repeat the story when the Ministry of Justice is in the service of a particular party, a particular leader, not the law.
Analyst Kakha Gogolashvili allows for such a possibility, but considers it unlikely. "Civil society in Georgia is growing stronger, the opinion of people is of great importance," Gogolashvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "This decreases the likelihood that the Prosecutor's Office has turned into the machinery of repression against political opponents. Of course, it is theoretically possible, especially if the political situation in the country aggravates, but so far there is no real prerequisites," said Gogolashvili.
"Law and justice" - this is the two major slogans of the "Georgian Dream." But people are waiting for concrete results in improving lives. However, such ministers as Tsulukiani do not offer instant recipe of the way out of the crisis. Their actions are rather designed for the long term, that is, to create a solid foundation of justice, rule of law in Georgia, which was missing until recently.