Public Defender’s Position Still Vacant
08 November, 2012

Two sides crystallized in the battlefield


Several candidates are considered for the position of Public Defender. Debates rage on in the media space. Positive and negative qualities of every candidate are continuously scrutinized in the press. There are opinions that NGOs and new Government have their own favorites. Confrontations drag on, consuming precious time and failing to fill the post of Public Defender.

Some people do not like Dimitri Lortkipanidze, one of the candidates, for his allegedly homophobic statement which he made

some time ago. Others loath Tamar Gurchiani proposed by NGOs. Besides, these two candidates stand next to yet another competitor, human rights activist Gela Nikolaishvili who works in this sphere for decades. His name appears to carry relatively less negative criticism. There are others who try to gain points by supporting legalization of single sex marriages.

Appointment of Dimitri Lortkipanidze as the Ombudsman is demanded by prisoner families. They sent even a special appeal to the Authorities. According to the former Public Defender Nana Devdariani, she personally cannot think of any better candidacy for this post other than Dimitri Lortkipanidze. Sozar Subari, another former holder of the post, prefers to remain silent on the matter.

To sum it up, the following candidates from the civil society sector are contending for the Public Defender’s position: Lawyer Tamar Gurchiani, Lia Mukhashavria who heads Human Rights Priority, Gela Nikolaishvili who is one of the leaders of Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, former MP Dimitri Lortkipanidze and Natia Imnadze who heads Prevention and Monitoring Department of Public Defender’s Office. Lately, a new face has emerged to join the list. It’s Ucha Naneishvili.

Despite the violation of the procedures defined by Georgian Organic Law on Public Defender, candidacy discussions still rumble on and the 8th Parliament does not seem to be in a hurry for rounding up the issue. Let us recall that Public Defender candidacies can be formally proposed by Georgian President, a Parliamentary faction and at least six MPs.

“Friends, they say Georgian Dream is in a deadlock about who to choose. The candidacy of Tamar Gurchiani is allegedly blocked by the Church while other candidacies are reportedly at loggerheads with their values. Now they decided to come up with one more name – Mr Ucha Naneishvili via certain NGOs. What would I have against him except the fact that he would not be equal to other candidates? He is not a choice of the civic sector but an unwitting candidate of the Government. It does not matter which parties my virtual friends support. The dishonest deed is a dishonest deed. NGOs are blackmailed to propose Mr Ucha if they do not want to see Gela Nikolaishvili winning. Now we all shall stand by each other. Let them make a choice on their own, without blackmailing and driving a wedge in the civil society! Let them be liable for their choices just like we are liable for electing them!” – These words belong to journalist Nino Danelia. She posted them on her Facebook page.

It seems the issue of the Public Defender elections has reached a no go zone. Social networks are increasingly wound up. Many users there think that the regime of candidate selection and discussions are heading a wrong way. Some even think the process is being over-controlled. A part of human rights activists conclude that the Parliament will have to choose between homophobia and single-sex marriage supporters.

P.S.  Later, The name of one more candidate, NGO representative Nino Khatiskatsi, considered as supperted by political majority, become known.