The current parliament will not consider Public Defender Sozar Subari’s reports on last year’s human rights record in Georgia, Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said on March 17.
She said that lawmakers would not have enough time to even read the comprehensive reports. Parliament had been scheduled to consider Subari’s two bi-annual reports (744 and 633 pages respectively) covering the country’s human rights record in 2007. The second report is critical of the November events, demanding Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili take responsibility for police actions.
Along with the excessive use of police force in breaking up the demonstrations last November, the report notes that law enforcement agencies used rubber bullets, which was illegal. Those who authorized their use, including Merabishvili, should be held responsible, the report says. The public defender cites the Law on Police, which lists special equipment available to riot police. The list includes tear gas, water cannons and rubber batons, but not rubber bullets.
“The law enforcement agencies exceeded their authority,” the report reads. “Hence the issue of responsibility of not only individual riot policemen should be raised, but those high-ranking Interior Ministry officials, who authorized the purchase and then use of rubber bullets, should also be held responsible. It can be assumed that neither the purchase nor the use of rubber bullets would have occurred without the involvement of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Hence, it is obvious that the issue of the minister’s criminal liability should be raised.”
“It is unfortunate that the parliament is incapable, not only to assess human rights situation in the country, but also to even show interest towards cases of violation of human rights in the country,” the Public Defender told the Georgian Public Broadcaster on March 17.