The President of Georgia criticized the Government and the Opposition in her annual parliamentary address

The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, expressed her support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, spoke of Georgia’s accession to the European Union, and criticized the ruling party and the opposition in her annual parliamentary address on March 14.

Zurabishvili clearly expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people and criticized the position of the Georgian government in this regard: “The government sins when it does not dare to express what our history and dignity dictate.” She stated that neither the caution nor fear should serve as justification for us not to stand with dignity, at least by words, and express the position that our conscience and Georgianness demand it.

At the same time, President Zurabishvili criticized the opposition and called on them to stop claiming abroad that the current Georgian government is not pro-Western: “As if we are not worthy of either joining the European Union or partnering with NATO and the United States. Or even worse, when they claim that the government – and therefore the country – has changed its pro-Western course! Such a politically motivated attack not only harms the government, but also the country, and serves the enemy’s interests!”

In addition, Zurabishvili noted that Georgian authorities denied her the  working visits  to Paris, Berlin, Brussel and Warsaw. The President said: “It is not a time for restrictions, on the contrary, those of us who can do what we can, at the international level, should be involved as much as possible, we should not give rest to our partners! I think my forty years of experience in diplomacy and the personal contacts I have gained during this period, are more useful to this country than a loss.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of the Georgian Dream, criticized Salome Zurabishvili’s speech: “If what the president said [a visit to Paris and Brussels without an agreement with the government] was right, and, presumably, she was right, then [she] violated the constitution”.  Aluda Ghudushauri, MP from the Georgian Dream, said: “it seems that the president was being bullied by the United National Movement.”

President’s speech caused mixed feelings and comments in the opposition. Mamuka Khazaradze, chairman of the party Lelo for Georgia, said that the president had voiced important initiatives, most of which were in full accordance with his positions. A similar assessment was made by the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, who said that the President “expressed the voice of the Georgian people with dignity.” On the contrary, the chairman of European Georgia party Giga Bokeria said: “this person, who today condemns the polarization and blames everything on others, was the one who blamed her country for starting the war, propagandized against NATO and was elected as a President of Georgia with bloody banners and bribes.”

ICC Files Arrest Warrant for S. Ossetian Officials

On March 11, as part of the 2008 war case, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan, issued an arrest warrant for three former high-ranking South Ossetian officials. According to the prosecutor, there is a reasonable basis to believe that they are responsible for committing war crimes between August 8-27, 2008.

According to the prosecutor, Mikheil Mindzaev, the de facto Minister of Internal Affairs of Tskhinvali in 2005-2008, Hamlet Guchmazov, then head of the pre-trial detention unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Davit Sanakoev, then-representative of the de facto president of Tskhinvali in the field of human rights were allegedly directly involved in the crime.

According to Karim Khan, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mindzaev, Guchmazov and Sanakoev will be held criminally liable for violating the provisions on illegal deprivation of liberty, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, hostage-taking and illegal transfer.

The prosecutor noted that the statements in his arrest warrant focused on cases of illegal deprivation of liberty, ill-treatment, hostage-taking and illegal transfer of ethnic Georgian civilians “in the context of the occupation of the Russian Federation.”

Georgia is one of the 123 states that are members of the The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Russia is not a member of the Rome Statute and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court.

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