TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili offers the current government his own rules of the game; rules which are against Georgian legislation.
The rules in question are about how to question witnesses in criminal cases. This issue has been a source of disagreement between members of the current government and particularly between former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
Under the current law, the Prosecutor’s Office can summon and question witnesses. People think prosecutors are taking advantage of this power to force witnesses to give the testimony they want, and in many cases human rights are violated in this process.
In addition, a person is punished if he changes his testimony. These rules have been in force since Mikheil Saakashvili’s government and in those times a new rule of questioning witnesses in court should have come into force, but it was postponed many times. It should have been in force January 1, 2014, but the new government postponed it again.
A few days ago, former Prime Minister Ivanishvili said that President Giorgi Margvelashvili, whom he had chosen as a candidate for president, disappointed him. Among the issues why the president disappointed him, he pointed out the decision to veto a bill about questioning witnesses. But the bill has been postponed in parliament again, so Margvelashvili didn’t need to use his veto powers.
Saakashvili was summoned to be questioned in ten serious criminal cases last Thursday, but didn’t show up and also refused to be questioned via Skype. He doesn’t want to be questioned by the Prosecutor’s Office, but says he is ready to give testimony in court in specific cases.
Gigi Ugulava, former Mayor of Tbilisi, said this in an interview with Rustavi 2, Saakashvili’s favorite TV channel.
Friday evening, Ugulava said that the ex-president is ready to give testimony, but only inj a court of law during a trial in a specific case. He said he learned about Saakashvili’s decision via a phone conversation with him.
“If there will be a trial and the judge considers it necessary to question Saakashvili as a witness to determine the truth in a certain case, of course, Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to switch via Skype and give testimony,” he said, adding that otherwise, the former president doesn’t plan to participate in a ‘mascarade.’