TV Live Menu
Loading data...

US blocks four Georgian officials from entering country over corruption

05.04.23 23:38

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday blocked four Georgian judicial officials from entering the country due to their involvement in "significant corruption," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Blinken named the officials as Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia and Valerian Tsertsvadze.

"These individuals abused their positions as court Chairmen and members of Georgia's High Council of Justice," Blinken said, adding that Washington would continue to stand with Georgians in support of democracy, the rule of law and accountability.

Almost immediately after the announcement, US Ambassador Kelly Degnan issued a recorded statement explaining the State Department’s decision.

According to her: “the State Department determined, based on credible and corroborated evidence, that these individuals abused their public positions by engaging in significant corrupt activity. Their actions undercut judicial and public processes by offering benefits to or coercing judges to decide cases in favor of political allies and manipulating judicial appointments to their benefit. Their corruption undermined rule of law and democratic processes, damaging the Georgian public’s faith in the independence of one of the most important democratic institutions.”

She further noted that “under US law credible evidence of significant corruption, such as this, results in designations. These designations prevent these individuals and their immediate family members from traveling to the United States”.

She also recalled the last week’s Summit for Democracy where President Biden reaffirmed the US’ strong commitment to fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law. The Summit was attended by over 100 Heads of State, including President Zurabishvili of Georgia.

Ambassador Degnan stressed that “justice is the main principle upholding freedom and democracy” and that “rule of law requires a legal system where cases are decided fairly and impartially based on facts, evidence al law, not because of intimidation, bribe or late phone-call, or other pressure.”

She noted that every Georgian citizen deserves justice, the rule -of law, and the right to a fair and independent judicial process regardless of his/her wealth, family, or political connections.

She went on to say that corruption and judicial interference obstruct Georgia’s European integration and that the US continues to support Georgia and its citizens in their European aspirations. “This action was taken with achieving that goal in mind”- she said.

She also emphasized that “these designations also demonstrate our continuous support to hardworking, capable, and honest judges, they should be allowed to work free of pressure and intimidation.”

She concluded with saying that for years the US has been urging the government to make meaningful reforms in the judiciary, adding: “we applaud the progress achieved, often with US’ support.” She added however, that as many have acknowledged, more has to be done, adding: “These judicial reforms are in Georgia’s interests and necessary to achieve a prosperous Euro-Atlantic future. The designations announced today “demonstrate the US’ firm commitment to combat corruption and assist Georgians to succeed in building the democratic society you so clearly want and deserve.”

While commenting imposed sanctions, one of the sanctioned judges, Levan Murusidze said: "life will continue. I have lived an honest life, I have not broken any laws but if we are not let in the US or EU, what can we do? My grandfather didn’t go anywhere, but he survived."

Source: BMG & News Agencies
საფონდო ბირჟები
საფონდო ბირჟები