Today’s ruling, in the cases of Gvaramia, Iashvili, and Damenia, calls into question Georgia’s commitment to rule of law, and further demonstrates the fundamental importance of having an independent, impartial judiciary in Georgia. From its inception, this case has raised questions, including about the timing and the charges. The disturbing pattern of selective investigations and prosecutions targeting those in opposition to the current government undermines the public’s confidence in the police, prosecution, the courts, and the government itself. Particularly at this time, when Georgia has an unprecedented opportunity to advance its Euro-Atlantic integration, even the perception of politicized prosecution is detrimental. It is the United States’ firm position that a healthy democracy depends on ensuring judicial independence and protecting media freedom. That is why we have repeatedly called for the government to undertake comprehensive reforms to advance these fundamental democratic principles.
In wounded warrior care, access to skilled professionals is as important as modern facilities and equipment. Throughout our 30-year cooperation, the U.S. mission has been helping with both. The 2,000 square meter Maro Makashvili Rehabilitation Center _ constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers _ continues to provide all necessary spaces, equipment, and services as we continue to support the center in expanding its capacity. The U.S. Mission was honored to host subject matter experts from the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Europe and Africa Office of the Command Surgeon, Defense Health Engagement, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Traumatic Brain Injury Program to work with Georgian Ministry of Defense and Rehabilitation Center representatives on finding the best ways for warriors to recover.
The Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an online briefing dedicated to the motto of 2022 “Epoch of people with Arkadag” and the upcoming presidential elections
On 22 February 2022, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an online briefing dedicated to the motto of 2022 “Epoch of people with Arkadag” and the upcoming presidential elections in Turkmenistan scheduled for 12 March 2022.
The briefing was attended by journalists of “TV-24”, “The Georgian Business Week”, news agency “News Day Georgia”, online media “Geoecohub”, newspapers of “Resonance”, “Multinational Georgia”, “Free Georgia”, “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, political scientists, representatives of Georgian Technical University, Grigol Robakidze University and Georgian National Academy of Science.
In his speech, Ambassador of Turkmenistan Mr. D.Muratov noted that the slogan of 2022 “Epoch of people with Arkadag” became an expression of national love and respect for the Hero-President who founded a happy era and leads Turkmenistan to new achievements.
During the briefing, it was also emphasized that fundamental transformations carried out in all the areas of the country’s life in the epoch of might and happiness, are reflected in the successfully implemented human policy of the President of Turkmenistan “The State is for people”.
The journalists were also informed that the preparations for the presidential elections are being actively carried out in the country and abroad, and that a polling station will be open in the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia.
At the end of the event, the participants thanked the Embassy of Turkmenistan for organizing and conducting the briefing and wished Turkmenistan to continue its glorious path to new achievements and successes.
In the 30 years since, Georgia and the United States have grown to become steadfast strategic partners
On December 25, 1991, in his holiday address to the people of the United States, President George H. W. Bush announced the United States' recognition of Georgian independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In the 30 years since, Georgia and the United States have grown to become steadfast strategic partners, cooperating across a broad spectrum of issues in the name of a Georgia and Europe whole and free and at peace.
US Embassy in Georgia
The U.S. Embassy is disappointed that, once again, Parliament is moving forward with Supreme Court appointments before it has completed an independent assessment of the previous waves of judicial reform, as Parliament’s leaders agreed to do. We are also concerned that judicial appointments are proceeding without the participation of non-judge members of the High Council of Justice. While the High Council and Parliament have rushed through appointment of judges over the past year, there has been no action on non-judge appointments despite the positions being vacant for months. The people of Georgia, through the non-judge High Council members, are supposed to have a voice in the selection of these influential and important judges, who are being appointed to lifetime positions on the Supreme Court. The exclusion of independent voices from this process adds to the impression that Supreme Court judicial appointments are being made without meaningful transparency, accountability, or impartiality.
Before any further Supreme Court judges are appointed, we strongly encourage Parliament to prioritize the appointment of impartial, independent, non-judge members to the High Council of Justice, and complete an independent assessment of the previous waves of reform by Spring 2022. Important work has been done since independence to strengthen Georgia’s judicial branch, with the assistance of the United States and others. Georgia’s closest partners and supporters, as well as Georgia’s political leaders, are united in agreeing that judicial reform needs to continue. The goal now must be to build an impartial, transparent, merit-based judicial system that the people of Georgia can have full confidence in and that allows the full participation of the many qualified, ethical judges and lawyers who work with integrity to promote the rule of law.
US Embassy in Tbilisi
On October 31, while the country was focused on the municipal elections, the Judiciary selected two new members to the High Council of Justice, replacing the previously unannounced early resignation of two sitting members. The process was neither competitive nor transparent. A single candidate was offered for each vacancy. There was little advance notice of the intent to fill the seats left open by the pre-term resignations. There was no opportunity for consultations or participation by a broad range of qualified candidates, nor for meaningful engagement by relevant interlocutors and civil society. It is disappointing that the Judiciary missed the opportunity to show transparency and failed again to elect its representatives through a competitive and democratic election process.
The United States has long sought to build the capacity of qualified and dedicated judges while calling for reforms that would allow for accountability for judges who undermine the legitimacy of the judicial system. This includes seeking legislative amendments to avoid corporatism and to safeguard the principles of democracy, equality, and adherence to the Rule of Law. Judiciary leaders maintain the judiciary is unfairly criticized for the lack of transparent and merit-based appointments, promotions, and transfers. Yet when the Conference of Judges rushes through important decisions without competition or transparency, it demonstrates unwillingness to embrace reforms that would increase transparency, accountability and public trust in the appointment process, the candidates, and in the High Council of Justice. The many qualified, professional members of the judiciary who are shut out by such a closed system deserve better.
An ethical Judiciary is the backbone of a country’s adherence to Rule of Law. An independent and professional judicial system that is trusted by and serves the people is essential to promoting equitable growth and attracting investment by Georgian and foreign businesses. The United States will continue to advocate for and support reforms that will increase accountability, professionalism, and transparency to help Georgia attain the system of justice its people deserve and that is fundamental for Georgia’s chosen path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
The United States Embassy congratulates the people of Georgia and the thousands of election workers and professional domestic observers who participated in the October 2 elections. The high voter turnout despite the COVID-19 pandemic is indicative of the continued commitment of the people of Georgia to democracy and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path. Municipal elections matter because the local level is where citizens’ needs and interests are met most directly by their elected representatives. Georgia’s citizens have frequently expressed their desire for a greater voice in decisions that affect their lives. The lack of focus on local issues in yesterday’s elections was a missed opportunity to make progress towards achieving that goal.
The United States shares the OSCE ODIHR’s initial assessment that these elections were technically well-administered, but that the environment was marred by widespread and consistent allegations of intimidation, vote-buying, pressure against candidates and voters, pervasive misuse of citizen observers as party representatives, and an uneven playing field, including in the pre-election period. While voters were able to cast their votes in a largely calm environment on October 2, the election process is about more than Election Day. We share ODIHR’s concerns about the polarized media landscape, the significant imbalance of resources and insufficient oversight of campaign finances, the under-representation of women in the campaign, reports of misuse of administrative resources, and pressure against journalists.
We commend the professional domestic election observation organizations – in particular, ISFED, GYLA, PMMG, and TI – for informing the public with sound, balanced assessments and reliable information throughout the campaign period and on Election Day. Their important contributions have, over time, improved the election process. We are concerned by reports that some of these respected domestic NGOs reported barriers to observing the elections.
The continued blurring of the line between state and party resources is deeply disturbing. Significant reports about the misuse of administrative resources during the campaign raised doubts about the overall fairness of the elections. In many towns and villages, pressure against teachers, law enforcement officers, and other public sector workers reportedly interfered with their ability to exercise their free choice on Election Day. This type of abuse has occurred too often in Georgian elections and is wholly incompatible with Georgia’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic ideals. There is a dangerous risk that these and other recurring elections violations are becoming accepted as inevitable. Georgian voters deserve a higher standard of integrity in their election process.
We also regret actions that are likely to further polarize and destabilize Georgia’s already tense political situation, and parties’ emphasis on personal attacks rather than addressing voters’ priorities. These actions call into question some political parties’ commitment to the principle that political legitimacy should be won or lost at the ballot box.
We commend Parliament’s recent efforts to adopt electoral reforms to address some of the deficiencies identified during previous elections. While some measures resulted in positive changes, the overall failure to significantly reduce recurring patterns of violations, especially during the pre-election period, is disappointing. We call on Parliament, including opposition parties, to recommit in good faith to strengthening Georgia’s election system in a comprehensive manner; to implement key reforms – including judicial reforms – recommended by ODIHR, the Venice Commission, and Georgia’s international partners; and to pass constitutional amendments ensuring that all future parliamentary elections will be fully proportional, as they have previously pledged to do. This reform process must be implemented hand-in-hand with citizens and civil society.
Now is the time to build political alliances among parties to urgently address the issues that are most important to Georgia’s citizens. As it has in the past, Georgia must meet the challenges of building its democracy with courage, compromise, and resolve. Each election is a chance to strengthen and improve the democratic process. On October 2, Georgia’s citizens exercised their precious right to vote, to be heard, and to hold their political leaders accountable. We call on all parties to resist efforts to further polarize the political situation, to maintain a calm post-election environment, and to ensure the fair, impartial adjudication of electoral complaints. The second round of voting is an opportunity to improve the process and conduct an orderly, competitive run-off with results Georgians can have full confidence in.
The United States is proud to have stood alongside the people of Georgia over the decades and we will continue to support Georgia’s efforts to build a strong democracy, a prosperous economy, and a stable, secure country.
The Representation of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has started its work in Turkmenistan
On the 10th of June 2021, an official event took place in the Conference Hall of the UN House in Ashgabat which was dedicated to the opening of the Representation of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Turkmenistan.
The event was attended by the heads and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Office of UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan and the country agencies of the Organization, as well as the journalists of local and foreign mass media. The representatives of the Embassy of Japan in Turkmenistan also participated to the event.
In his speech at the opening of the event, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev noted the importance of the opening of the UNOPS Office in Ashgabat from the perspective of further strengthening of international cooperation for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals under the UN auspices.
The speech of the Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Ms. Christine Weigand was also heard. She underlined that the opening of the UNOPS Representation in the country is expected to make a valuable input into the implementation of the projects carried out jointly with all the UN agencies on the national and regional levels.
The Director of the UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Austria Ms. Freya von Groote addressed via videoconferencing. She told to the participants about the priority directions of UNOPS activities and expressed hope for close cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan and the UN Country Team in the process of implementing the projects, including those in the area of healthcare and struggle with the climate change. Ms. Freya von Groote also briefly informed about the goals and stages of implementation of the new grant project aimed at strengthening of the healthcare system of Turkmenistan carried out in cooperation with Japan.
Opening of the Representation of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an important stage in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations for 2021-2025.
As a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the civilian population was killed, and the civilian infrastructure was damaged. The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia spreads information about the conflict.
"The armed forces of Armenia have been continuing to target the civilian population, private houses and other civilian infrastructure in residential areas along the line of contact in a gross violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Civilian facilities, such as hospitals, medical centers, school buildings, and kindergartens, have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling of Armenia's armed forces, including from artillery and other large-caliber weaponry. Electricity and energy infrastructure got damaged in residential areas. Armed units of Armenia targeted gas lines in the Borsunlu and Hulabandi villages and several neighborhoods in the Tartar district's administrative center.
On September 29, a mortar attack hit a medical facility in Garadaghli village of Aghdam. As a result, one civilian died. As of September 29, 12 civilians, including two children and two elderly, were killed, with 35 civilians hospitalized. Sixty-six private houses and eight private properties were damaged. Below is photo evidence of the humanitarian law violations of the armed forces of Armenia. Private properties of the residents of Azadgaragoyunlu village of the Tartar district were seriously damaged," reads the statement.