United States Calls on Georgia to Investigate
02 June, 2011
United States Calls on Georgia to Investigate

 

Will special investigative commission be set up?

The United States calls Georgia to investigate acts of violence during the 26 May protest rally that left at least two people dead. “We believe that the rights to peacefully express the aspirations of the citizens of Georgia, as in any country, should be respected.

And we would call on a government investigation into the incidents of the last several days, in which - I believe – several people were killed,” said Mark C. Toner,

Deputy Department Spokesman at 27 May daily press briefing in response to the request to comment on the ongoing events in Tbilisi.

 

In few hours after the 26 May crackdown on the protest rally, John R. Bass, Ambassador of the United States of America to Georgia, stated his concern about the reports that individual law enforcers “potentially used excessive force.”

“I believe it is important that the Authorities investigate these accusations seriously,” he said to the journalists after attending the military parade held on Rustaveli Avenue in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Georgia’s Independence.

Similar to his 25 May statement, Bass reiterated that many of the demonstrators in Tbilisi did not protest peacefully and aimed at provoking clashes with the police.

Despite such international reaction, the meeting of the Parliamentary Bureau chaired by Vice-Speaker Mikheil Machavariani started with a completely different issue. The request of the opposition to set up a Parliamentary commission for the investigation of the 26 May events was aired at the meeting by Gia Tsagareishvili, representative of Free Democrats. It is noteworthy that this initiative is backed by the diplomatic corps too. However, it turns out that the Majority did not quite welcome it with open arms.

The Opposition-8 met the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia and produced to them the material on the violent crackdown on the 26 May rally. As Irakli Alasania stated after this meeting, the discussion also included the question as to who ordered transformation of the dispersal operation into the mass execution. As Alasania points out, it is necessary to form a Parliamentary commission to investigate these events.

“We must know how adequately the operation was planned. Why was there no corridor left? Only such commission can provide answers to these specific questions. We also need the support of international community to find protesters lost during the crackdown and to provide legal and humanitarian aid to physically hurt protesters,” Alasania added.

In contrast to Free Democrats, the Opposition-8 calls for setting up this commission at the Public Defender’s Office.

“Our political union - New Rightists – feels skeptical about any Parliamentary investigation commission. In our opinion, a public commission should be formed at the Public Defender’s  Office to investigate the 26 May events, because the recent events proved that the Public Defender is an independent and objective person,” asserted Davit Gamkrelidze, Leader of the New Rightists.

However, it remains unclear how such a commission can be formed or what its functions would be. No one specifies it whatsoever. The only sure thing is the phenomenon of gaining of the public trust by the institution of the Public Defender. Although so far, the attitude of the Public Defender himself on the issue is not known. Some experts explain that these two problems are not mutually exclusive and that all needed instruments should be fully utilized so that the fact is adequately assessed.

 

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