Sanctions, possible suspension of aid – how do you understand the new remittances to Georgia from Washington, Brussels

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Lekso Lashkarava, the cameraman of Pirveli TV, has been described by international partners as a victim of violence on July 5 and has demanded that not only the perpetrators but also the instigators be punished. Of the US The State Department does not shy away from asking about possible personal sanctions.

At the same time, there is talk in Brussels of the violation of the document signed on April 19, the “Charles Michel Agreement”. Due to the fact that the process of appointing judges to the Supreme Court has not been suspended, Georgia may be left without another tranche of EU macro-financial assistance, 75 million euros.

The messages of international partners are understood differently in “Georgian Dream”. The ruling party sees no problem at all in the attitude of either Washington or Brussels.

What do you hear from Washington?

The statement of the spokesperson of the State Department caused quite a stir and controversy in Georgia.

Spokesperson Ned Price answered the question posed by the Georgian journalist in detail and revealed his knowledge of the details of the issue.

He said that the developments in Georgia are being closely monitored from Washington; Along with the perpetrators, the instigators are also expected to be punished, and when necessary, the U.S. does not shy away from imposing sanctions on human rights violations.

“We have several mechanisms in place for those responsible for human rights abuses and violence around the world. Sanctions are really one of those mechanisms. As you know, we do not talk about sanctions in advance until we introduce them, but we monitor the situation. [საქართველოში] With great care ” – Said the representative of the State Department.

Significant differences are already visible in the visions of Tbilisi and Washington.

  • Judging by the official statements, the investigation into the events of July 5 has not yet begun to search for instigators. To date, no photos or videos of the perpetrators’ actions have been published, which may have unequivocally confirmed that the violence was well-organized in advance.
  • There is another important difference between the positions of Washington and Tbilisi – the State Department refers to Lekso Lashkarava as a victim of violence; Investigative steps taken in Georgia practically rule out even the version that Lashkarava’s death may be related to the fact that he was severely beaten on July 5.

It is also clear to human rights activists that the briefings held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, amid numerous unanswered questions, sought to reinforce the public opinion that Lashkarava had died of a drug overdose.

What did “Georgian Dream” hear?

The Georgian Dream is convinced that the proceedings in Georgia are within the law, that is, exactly what the US State Department is talking about; Violators are also caught and, consequently, the imposition of sanctions is out of the question.

“The answer to the question about sanctions (representative of the State Department) was very general, that in general, people and countries where human rights are massively violated, of course, sanctions are imposed. However, Georgia is not really a country where human rights are massively violated … The opposition has one soul to impose sanctions on Georgia.

I assure everyone that no one will impose sanctions on Georgia. “Georgia is a leading country not only in the South Caucasus, but also in the Eastern European region in terms of democracy and human rights … Sanctions are out of the question.” – says Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations.

Samkharadze does not see the instigators at all and says that he did not stand in front of the parliament on July 5 either. Clergyman Calls are heard. The investigation has not been interested in the case of Archpriest Spiridon Tskipurishvili so far and the response to him has been limited to the reprimand of the Patriarchate.

Nikoloz Samkharadze tells us that if such a thing [წაქეზება] It happened, everyone is equal before the law – “both the nation and the nation”.

Samkharadze’s first deputy, Giorgi Khelashvili, a Georgian Dream MP, understood the State Department statement differently – as if the alleged addressees of the sanctions were considered abusers. Accordingly, he explained, sanctions will no longer be necessary because the perpetrators will inevitably be punished.

Also a member of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations is National Movement lawmaker Nino Mamulashvili, who is in Washington and currently holding meetings with representatives of the US legislature and executive branch.

Are we talking about sanctions, which is excluded by the Georgian Dream, and against whom can sanctions be imposed?

Nino Mamulashvili answers that the topic of sanctions is not new and American partners have talked to her about such a perspective before.

“Sanctions for a strategic partner are a very difficult issue to resolve politically, but the Georgian Dream has decided not to listen to any recommendations and concerns and still do everything in its own way … so the issue of sanctions is being considered.

Of course, the sanctions imposed on abusers are not discussed here. Violators will be punished according to Georgian law. “In the case of possible sanctions, we are talking about members of the government, judges and those who have generally signed violence in the last eight years.” – Mamulashvili tells us.

According to the UNM MP, no one in Washington believes the version previously voiced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia that – it is possible that Lekso Lashkarava’s death was caused by an overdose of drugs.

“Do not believe for a moment that someone here had the illusion that the TV operator had taken an overdose of drugs and died because of it … Putin’s move is called all this, because such actions are characteristic only of Putin’s Russia … There are cases that have been on the shelf for years. How was the case concluded in two hours ?!

They have very strong reactions in personal conversations as well, noting that they will definitely be held accountable to all those who committed the crime on July 5, or encouraged this crime. The fact is that the perpetrators were ordered by someone – they did not decide to attack the media anyway. The Georgian government has encouraged these groups and silenced the media. “ – Mamulashvili tells us.

Lekso Lashkarava was also mentioned as a victim of violence in a statement issued earlier by the US Embassy.

“We call for calm and an end to the violence that has already resulted in the tragic death of one person.” – noted the embassy.

What you hear from Brussels

EU countries also condemn the violence and look forward to an impartial, objective, thorough investigation into each crime.

Amid the turmoil caused by the events of July 5, on July 13, the European Commission also deemed it necessary to return to the problematic topic of the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court – the process that the “Georgian Dream” International partners They could not stop him.

Georgian Dream was not affected by the announcements regarding the possible suspension of the next tranche of macro-financial assistance (75 million euros).

The ambassadors of the European Union and the United States have spoken about this before and it was clear to the European Commission Warning too.

Nevertheless, Parliament has appointed 6 more judges to the Supreme Court for life. Their issue was decided by the Georgian Dream in the parliament on July 12.

The possible suspension of funding continues to be highlighted in a special statement by European Commission spokesman Peter Stano, who also stressed that the process of appointing judges contradicts the “Charles Michel Agreement”.

The statement reads:

  • “The appointments run counter to the key provisions of the April 19 agreement, which should suspend all ongoing appointments, fully implement all the recommendations of the Venice Commission, and generally increase the independence, accountability and quality of the judiciary in a comprehensive, inclusive and all-party reform process.”
  • “Reviewing the selection process of judges before the appointment of the Supreme Court in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission is also an agreed precondition for the allocation of the second tranche of macro-financial assistance to Georgia under the current EU program, which may be adversely affected.”

UNM MP Nino Mamulashvili is not at all surprised by this statement because, like many, she expected that steps taken against the clear calls of international partners would inevitably lead to a harsh response.

“Recently, during our stay in Brussels, we were also told clearly that the issue of conditionality of financial assistance would have arisen if the Georgian Dream had not listened to the recommendations of international partners. “It seems that the Georgian Dream is not going to do anything, and therefore, I do not rule out that, unfortunately, this tool will be activated by the West as well.” – Mamulashvili tells us.

Economic experts say that if Georgia does not receive macro-financial assistance, it will not only be a reputable burden for the country, but will also significantly affect it. To the economy as well.

“Georgian Dream” does not see the threat in this regard either.

For example, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Mikheil Sarjveladze, says that the truth is on the side of Georgia, there is no basis for financial punishment and this issue will be resolved with further explanations.

Georgian Dream has repeatedly presented its arguments to international partners before, and each time it seemed that they did not share these arguments.

Will explanations help solve the problem this time – when the issue has been explained many times before? – We ask Nikoloz Samkharadze. The chairman of the committee is confident of future success.

“In general, EU financial assistance is characterized by the fact that it is always conditional. The terms of this loan were written in the loan agreement between the EU and the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, back in 2020. One of the laws out there refers to the appointment of judges.

It says that the Georgian authorities should make changes to the procedure for appointing judges to the Supreme Court in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission … We should continue the dialogue and we should prove to them that these recommendations are already reflected in our legislation … an in-depth explanation is needed “ – Samkharadze told us.

However, the EU assesses the issue not in the past, but in the current situation. It seems that he is not satisfied with reality.

“The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in its interim report recently expressed concern about the fairness and equality of the nomination process.” – We read in the statement of the European Commission.

but ODIHR-He A report published by 9 July, for example, states that ““The High Council of Justice’s procedures for reviewing candidates’ applications, experience and interviews did not meet international standards.”

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