TBILISI, DFWatch–Three foreign prosecutors visiting Georgia have concluded that there is enough evidence to continue the criminal prosecution of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and three of his associates. Georgia’s chief prosecutor’s office announced this on Thursday.
When Saakashvili was criminally charged in late July it caused many politicians in Europe and the U.S. to claim the charges were politically motivated. The Council of Europe a few weeks ago implied that the prosecution of former officials in Georgia is politically motivated, especially the charges against Saakashvili.
The three foreign experts only looked at one of the cases in which the former president is charged; the beating of parliamentarian Valeri Gelashvili on July 14, 2005.
Gelashvili was driving along in his car when he was surrounded by unknown assailants and severely beaten. This happened right after he had given an interview to the newspaper Rezonansi in which he shared details about Saakashvili’s private life that had not been made public before.
Saakashvili is charged along with former officials Vano Merabishvili, Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze.
The evidence in the case was scrutinized by three experienced prosecutors – Sir Geoffrey Nice, Moshe Lador and Paul Coffey – who came to Georgia in July, before charges had been brought against Saakashvili.
The Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday that the group of foreign experts has finished studying witness testimonies, evidence, expert opinions and other material.
The office stressed that the conclusion is a preliminary one, and that the experts may change their opinion later as the investigation progresses.
“We would like to emphasize that the investigation appears to have been conducted with good faith in a professional manner,” the conclusion reads.
See the full text here: http://pog.gov.ge/res/docs/prokuraturismrcheveltasaertashorisojgufisdaskvna.pdf
Sir Geoffrey Nice was Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court of the former Yugoslavia; Moshe Lador served as State Prosecutor of Israel, while Paul Coffey used to be a chief of the United States Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.