Georgian Dream to send De-oligarchization Law to Venice Commission

Furing a briefing on 28 November, Mamuka Mdinaradze, Chairperson of the Georgian Dream Parliamentary faction and the party’s executive secretary, announced that the party has decided to send the draft law on de-oligarchization to the Venice Commission for its opinion. 

MP Mdinaradze emphasized the reasons behind the decision: “we respect the call of our friends” and “in order not to leave room for speculation, and for the country and Georgian Dream to not be blamed…”

He noted that Parliament will hold off on considering the law in its third hearing until the Venice Commission has delivered its conclusions on the bill. 

The MP emphasized that their only request is that the “law be evaluated in a timely manner […] and that the process be accelerated and not happen as in the case of Ukraine, where it took more than a year to get a conclusion.”

 The EU Delegation in Georgia welcomed the decision and emphasized that it is “important to consult international standard setters and implement their recommendations.”

Notably, the ruling party has controversially maintained that Bidzina Ivanishvili – GD founder and ex-Prime Minister – is not an oligarch, despite many contending he is the sole person the law should target.

In that context, civil society organizations, international partners, and members of the opposition have taken a critical view of the proposed law. For example, the Social Justice Center (SJC) published its opinion on the de-oligarchization on 17 November, which stated that “taking into account the contextual differences” between the countries, Georgia’s adoption of Ukraine’s anti-oligarchy law, “should not be considered a reasonable step.”

Public Defender: Violence against women remains a “significant challenge”

The Public Defender’s Office of Georgia released a statement today commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which emphasized that “regardless of legislative or institutional changes, violence against women and domestic violence in Georgia remains a significant challenge.”

The Public Defender’s Office noted in particular, that there are “many problems in the prevention, timely detection, and effective response to cases.”

They also underscored that when it comes to Georgian legislation, the definition of sexual violence is not aligned with international standards, particularly when it comes to changing the existing definition of rape and defining free and voluntary consent as part of the definition.

Furthermore, when it comes to domestic violence, the Public Defender cited the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and noted that in the first 9 months of 2022, the relevant authorities issued 6,520 restraining orders and launched 3,064 investigations in relation to possible cases of domestic violence.

The Public Defender stressed that coordinated work between state agencies on cases of violence against women and domestic violence “remains a challenge,” emphasizing that “as a result, the state’s response to gender-based crimes is ineffective.”

The Public Defender’s Office also highlighted the necessity of conducting public awareness campaigns and integrating the principles of equality in all types of education.

Due to his health condition, Mikheil Saakashvili could not attend the trial

Due to his deteriorating health, the ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili could not attend the meeting. Judge Nino Chakhnashvili announced that the session was postponed without determining the date.

Khatia Dekanoidze, a member of the “United National Movement”, says that the doctors do not recommend Saakashvili to attend the trial, because his condition may worsen during the trial and even the penitentiary service can not take responsibility.

As Dekanoidze told journalists after leaving the “Vivamed” clinic, Saakashvili’s condition is even worse, he also has neurological problems. Dekanoidze said that the government does not want the third president to appear on the screens to hide his serious condition.

According to Nino Nadiradze, director of “Vivamed”, transportation of the third president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was not justified at this stage. According to her, a consultation with a neurologist was held on Friday, who noted the negative dynamics and appropriate tests were ordered. As Nadiradze said the clinic will conduct these medical examinations again.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabishvili said on 24 November that the  Mikheil Saakashvili’s health is important for the country’s reputation, and if his health is “damaged to this level”, the court should make decision accordingly.

On 26 November, 13 Georgian CSOs issued a joint statement regarding Saakashvili’s health condition.

The civil society organizations called on the government to rely on expert recommendations rather than “political conjuncture” when discussing the issue of Saakashvili’s treatment, including his transfer abroad, “in order to prevent further deterioration of his health and the risks of infringement on life.”

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EGI Political Digest was created with support from Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC). The views and opinions expressed in this Digest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EGI or SILC.

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