Georgia in OSCE PA's Istanbul Declaration

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE held in Istanbul adopted on July 3 a final declaration, containing over two dozen of non-binding resolutions on broad range of issues with Georgia raised in two resolutions one on security and another one on democracy and human rights.

In the resolution on democracy and human rights, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly welcomes ongoing judicial reform in Georgia, but also expresses “concern” over pretrial detention of former interior minister and ex-PM Vano Merabishvili.

It says that the OSCE PA “welcomes the recent constitutional amendments and ongoing judicial reforms in Georgia to ensure a better balance between the executive and legislative branches and strengthen the independence of the judicial system.”

It welcomes “the first ever peaceful electoral change of power, stresses the importance of the rule of law” and “calls upon the Government of Georgia to refrain from the application of selective justice and expresses concern at the pre-trial detention of Vano Merabishvili, former Prime Minister of Georgia and a likely presidential contender.”

In a separate resolution on security-related issues, also part of the Istanbul Declaration, the OSCE PA calls for the beginning of “the process of de-occupation of the territories of Georgia and recommends agreeing on mechanisms for the safe and dignified return of all internally displaced persons in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.”

OSCE PA calls for full implementation of EU-brokered 2008 ceasefire agreements and expresses support to the Geneva talks, which were launched after the 2008 war; it also “welcomes the decrease of security-related incidents” on the ground.

The resolution also says that the Parliamentary Assembly “strongly urges” the OSCE’s main decision-making body, Permanent Council, to reopen the field mission in Georgia, “clearly prescribing the principle of the territorial integrity of participating States.”

The Assembly is the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE with 320 lawmakers from the organization’s 57 participating states.

Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, who was in Istanbul, holding bilateral meetings on the sideline of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, welcomed that the final declaration included calls for “de-occupation” of Georgian territories and reopening of OSCE mission in Georgia.

On the part of the declaration, which expresses concern over pretrial detention of Merabishvili, the Georgian parliament speaker said: “This is absolutely natural. If a former Prime Minister of any country is put behind bars, we all will ask what’s going on and that question is asked in the [resolution] adopted by the committee [and included in the final declaration] – how necessary it was to [send] former Prime Minister and secretary general of one of the political parties [UNM] to a pretrial detention. Questions on this issue are normal and they were predictable; everyone interested with the matter is receiving an exhaustive answer and the most exhaustive answer will be a verdict from the court, which we all should wait for – both those who are concerned about former Prime Minister being in pretrial detention and those who think that he should be there. It’s not either up to the Georgian politicians or European politicians to decide it; it’s up to the court to decide.”

Adapted from