The Chief Prosecutor’s criminal records need to be officially verified - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

The Chief Prosecutor’s criminal records need to be officially verified

20 January, 2014

We would like to comment on the information concerning the chief prosecutor’s criminal conviction in Germany. As you may be informed, a part of the organizations signatories of this statement has received the above information through informal sources before it became publicly known and has been trying to verify its authenticity to make sure that disseminating such important but unconfirmed information would not harm the image and credibility of the given law enforcement agency. Now that the information has been released, it is necessary to establish its authenticity. We, therefore, urge the Georgian authorities to officially verify the authenticity of the information without delay and inform the public thereof.

We'd also like to respond to the question about whether a convicted person has the right to take up the chief prosecutor’s position: under Article 33, paragraph “a” of the Georgian law on the Prosecutor’s Office, “a convicted person is not eligible to work in the prosecutor's office”. The Criminal code, however, states that conviction on any kind of crime banishes after the elapse of eight years from passing the sentence. Subsequently, according to the Georgian legislation standards, from the formal legal point of view, expunged conviction cannot be a factor inhibiting appointment on any position, including that of the chief prosecutor’s. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to make a final assessment until the specific details of the case are known, the execution of the sentence and details of communication between Georgia and Germany among them.

This being said, we still consider it inadmissible for a person convicted for “mugging” to take the Chief Prosecutor’s office. This would have a clearly negative impact on the image of the prosecutor's office and reduce the public trust for the law enforcement agency. It should also be noted that questions in this respect arise not only around Mr. Partskhaladze but also regarding those persons who took part in selecting the candidacy for the Chief Prosecutor’s position. Questions are directed towards those people as well who in previous years took the decision concerning Mr. Partskhaladze’s appointment in the public service.

Therefore, we deem it necessary to have the pertinent official information published without delay, and in the event the reports are officially confirmed, we urge the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister, who are responsible for appointing or dismissing the Chief Prosecutor, to take the decision of releasing Otar Partskhaladze from the occupied position.

In addition to the above, we call on the Chief Prosecutor to provide answers concerning the information regarding his conviction as well as the questions related to his higher legal education. The Law on the Prosecutor’s Office has a requirement that makes it legally binding for every prosecutor on any level to have a higher legal education. It has been several days since articles started to actively appear in the press casting doubt whether Otar Partskhaladze, born in 1976, was actually able to receive higher legal education by 1995 (i. e at the age 19 at most). Other issues needing clarification are whether the Open University for Humanities was a higher education institution founded in compliance with the requirements of the law, or since when the Law Department started to function at that University etc. We have been hearing irrelevant answers to these questions from the press service of the Prosecutor's Office, which intensifies the already existing doubts.

The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association

Transparency International Georgia

Article 42 of the Constitution

The Georgian Bar Association

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

Non-governmental organization CIDA