Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, Archil Kbilashvili, says he will not revisit his decision on releasing Vladimer Bedukadze, involved in torture of inmates, from criminal responsibility. According to Kbilashvili, the law does not provide for such a possibility. "Even if I so wish, there is no possibility for that and consequently, the decision which has been made will remain in force," the chief prosecutor of Georgia told journalists during a news conference on 9 July. Kbilashvili also noted that neither Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli nor other government members, including the justice minister, were aware of his decision on the Bedukadze case.
"The prime minister was not aware of the decision which I took on this case. This is a decision which, according to the law, is taken exclusively by the prosecutor. Before taking the decision I held a meeting with my colleagues [to discuss it] but it was not a subject of discussion of the political team and the justice minister was not aware of that," the chief prosecutor said.
During the news conference, Archil Kbilashvili also talked about motives behind the prime minister's request to revisit the decision:
"I talked to him two or three days ago and communicated those arguments which you have just heard. His position is that torture is the crime which cannot be tolerated. I can only respect his position because that is the highest standard of morality but in the case [of Bedukadze] I deemed it correct not to apply the highest moral standard and considered the decision which I took fair," Kbilashvili noted.
Kbilashvili also explained legal grounds for the release of Bedukadze from criminal responsibility and added that formally, the decision was legal.
"I want to separate two factors in relation with this issue. The first is a purely legal, formal side and another is the content which became the ground for applying that right [to take such decision]. Formally, the issue is regulated by Article 218 of the Criminal Procedures Code. First paragraph of this article allows the chief prosecutor to use an exceptional power towards any case and to release a person from the criminal responsibility or punishment or to take a different decision about the revision of punishment; such a person may be either an accused or a convicted person and the law envisages such power [of chief prosecutor]. Thus, formally, the right of chief prosecutor to take the decision which was taken in the case of Bedukadze, is provided by the law. Consequently, a question whether or not the decision was legal is not on the agenda," Archil Kbilashvili said.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili addressed the Chief Prosecutor with the request to revise the case of Bedukadze on 8 July. Bidzina Ivanishvili's position was supported by Justice Minister, Interior Minister and other representatives of the government.