Regarding the June 1 editorial “Democracy in peril”:
The Post’s assessment on the rule of law in Georgia missed key facts and context. The new Georgian government was elected to restore the rule of law, something the United States, European Union, United Nations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) agree was woefully lacking during President Mikheil Saakashvili’s nine years in power. This was one of the main issues blocking our path to E.U. and NATO membership.
While conceding that the previous government “was guilty of bending laws and occasionally pressuring opponents and the media,”the editorial suggested absolving officials of consequences for their actions because they peacefully surrendered power. However, a nation governed by the rule of law cannot turn a blind eye to massive embezzlement of state funds and violence and torture perpetrated by senior officials of any government.
Instead, we must ensure that everyone receives a fair trial. The new government is ending political pressure on the judiciary, providing new rights to defendants, allowing jury trials and opening courtrooms to the media. Both the E.U. and United States provide advice on our reform activities, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and NGOs are monitoring all trials.
We invite The Post to watch the trials and obtain a better understanding of the facts on the ground before passing judgment.
Thea Tsulukiani, Tbilisi, Georgia
The writer is Georgia’s minister of justice.