Hammerberg’s messages to the government
26 September, 2013
Hammerberg’s messages to the government
Legal reaction to the May 17 events and subsequent developments was insufficient, Thomas Hammerberg, the EU Special Advisor for Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights, said at the presentation of the 40-page report at the Radisson Blue Iveria hotel.
“What happened was totally unacceptable. I think there was inadequate reaction from the government. The legal reaction was not good enough. Investigation is still in progress but I think there is a risk that all this will be interpreted for
people as the following message: it was not a serious issue. However, it was really a very important incident. People were under serious threat. They were saved after they were evacuated by police. Every country that respects itself must resolve similar problems,” said Thomas Hammerberg.
He explained that it is necessary to carry out hot discussion about how to deal with the deep stereotypes existed in the society.
“It seems homophobia is so widespread that you can not simply tell anybody to ‘behave in other way’. Many people really believe that what they do is right but homophobia is expression of human rights violations, so politicians should make clear that this is a dividing line, which cannot be crossed. Church plays an important role in all this. A dialogue is necessary between the church and the society,” Thomas Hammerberg said.
Thomas Hammarberg’s report about the situation in Georgia includes statements and facts obtained by the National Movement members about election violations. Thomas Hammerberg, the EU Special Advisor for Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights, said the above-mentioned issue should be seriously considered at the presentation of the 40-page report at the Radisson Blue Iveria hotel. 
“I don’t observe election campaign in detail. However, my report touches upon this issue. There were certain facts of intimidation when candidates were hampered to carry out campaign. Some detentions also took place and the National Movement claims they are not given the opportunity to carry out election campaign. They say that 100-laris fine is not enough for prevention of such activities. My recommendation is that this problem should be considered seriously,” said Thomas Hammerberg.
He said similar atmosphere is not admissible and freedom of expression, especially during election period, is very important. “This problem is mentioned in my report and I think each candidate will be enabled to hold election campaign,” said Thomas Hammerberg.
Thomas Hammerberg, the EU Special Advisor for Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights, sent two messages to the Government of Georgia at the presentation of his report at the Radisson Blue Iveria hotel. 
“In this report I have two main messages - one is that we should change the nearest past and this should be done without violation of human rights. Thousands of complaints were filed at the prosecutor’s office and the public defender’s office. Each of these claims requires detailed study. It is necessary each of them to be replied. It is also very important that investigation into the cases of former high ranking officials not to be politicized. In this regard, there are questions not only inside but also outside the country and it is important to avoid all this and to prevent politicization of this process. This is the first unequivocal message from my side,” said Thomas Hammerberg.
He also said that investigation should be based on the principles of justice. “Therefore, any statement that may violate the presumption of innocence is not acceptable. Nobody is guilty until charges against him are proven. Therefore, it is essential the process of investigation to be carried out in accordance with proper procedures,” said Hammerberg.
As for the second message, he said it was time for the Georgian society to stop looking in the past and start thinking about the future. “It is very important the public not to look only in the past and to start thinking about the future. Therefore, I think the time has come to close the page of the past and to get ready for taking next steps towards the future. This is the second main message”, Thomas Hammerberg said.
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