Inter-institutional commission

Bokeria criticizes police for “inadequate” handling of Zugdidi and Batumi incidents

გიგა ბოკერია Photo:

On 23 July Chairman of an inter-institutional commission on free and fair elections, Giga Bokeria expressed concern over the violent activities against the United National Movement members in the towns of Zugdidi and Batumi and criticized law enforcers for handling the incidents that took place on 20 and 21 July "inadequately." According to Bokeria, the incidents like those in Zugdidi and Batumi contradict with the pledge made by the Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on holding Presidential Elections 2013 in free and fair environment.

"Despite the fact that police was deployed at the cite, and as a result of their activities the activists [of the Georgian Dream] were not able to thwart the National Movement's event, the police were unable to eliminate neither the direct, nor the physical assault. Moreover, resistance and insubordination to the police by the counter-demonstrators was evident. In addition, fining the violators with GEL 100 was an inadequate punishment, which can become an encouraging factor for further violations, moreover against the background when students are being fined with GEL 1000 for demonstrating peacefully," Bokeria said in his statement "It is notable, that problems existed during the pre-election campaign events of 2012 October elections, however law enforcers were using administrative imprisonment as a measure. In case of several election incidents in 2012 (in Mereti and Karaleti) police was not deployed at the cites, unlike the incident in Zugdidi, when the Interior Ministry was aware of the counter-rally held in parallel with the UNM event. According to the practice introduced during the 2012 Parliamentary elections, law enforcers were informed about the planned rallies of the opposition through the inter-institutional commission, the practice, which made avoiding incidents possible. As a result of the cooperation in this format, pre-election meetings were held without any incidents in the cases when police were aware of the planned activities in advance. In similar incidents, police should use administrative imprisonment or, in more serious cases like that of Zugdidi, criminal prosecution, moreover, when there was a reasonable doubt that the rally was organized by particular representatives of the government. It is important that the police cooperate with the election subjects in terms of exchange of information, as well as in terms of immediate and effective reaction in case of confrontations," he added.





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