At the end of his two-day visit to Georgia, the President
of the Venice Commission presented his views on the current situation in the
country at a press conference.
After meeting with the highest authorities of Georgia, Mr
Buquicchio expressed his satisfaction at the willingness expressed by all his
interlocutors, notably the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of
Parliament, to pursue the co-operation with the Venice Commission and to consult
it in the preparation of the new constitution. He welcomed that a liaison
officer would be appointed by parliament in order to facilitate the exchanges
with the Venice Commission.
While he understood the need for the new majority to
deliver results to the voters, Mr Buquicchio warned against the danger of hasty
reforms and recalled the need for broad consensus, notably as concerns
constitutional amendments. An in-depth constitutional reform was necessary in
order to introduce the necessary check and balances on presidential powers,
which under the 2004 Constitution were missing and had for this reason been
criticized by the Venice Commission. Such constitutional reform would need to be
carried out after a thorough reflection and with due consultation of all the
political forces and the civil society: only in this way would it be possible to
achieve the ultimate aim of the process, which was a constitution which unites
the Georgian people, not one that divides it.
In respect of the much discussed short-term constitutional
amendments, Mr Buquicchio accepted that there might be an urgent need to proceed
with them prior to October 2013 for the sake of stability of the government and
of the Parliament after the last parliamentary elections and said that he did
not object to the reduction of the Presidentâ€™s power to appoint a new government
without the approval of the parliament, which had been previously criticised by
the Venice Commission. He nevertheless urged the Georgian authorities to ensure
a smooth, decent and respectful cohabitation in the interest of Georgia.
As concerns the amendments to the law on the ordinary
courts and the amnesty law, Mr Buquicchio explained that the Venice Commission
experts would visit Georgia on 6-7 February in order to have technical meetings
with the competent authorities in view of the preparation of the Commissionâ€™s
opinions for March 2013. He wished to stress in this context that the necessary
reform of the law on the judiciary needs to respect the rule of law, which means
that the mandates of the current members of the High Judicial Council should not
be terminated before their end of term.
Tbilisi - A detailed summary
of Mr Buquicchioâ€™s press conference may be found at: http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=25701
For more information see: www.coe.int / www.coe.ge