Public Defender's Statement on the Investigation of the Use of Excessive Force during Dispersal of 20-21 June Protests

Public defender Nino Lomjaria is responding to the Prosecutor General's readiness to engage the Public Defender of Georgia with the supervisory power in the investigation of cases of alleged abuse of power by police during the June 20-21 protests. According to the Public Defender, she will welcome the Prosecutor’s decision if her office has full access to the investigation materials.

The Public Defender has been demanding access to the materials related to the abuse of power by law enforcement officers for a long time. According to her, it is necessary that amendments be made to the draft law submitted to the Parliament of Georgia so that the Public Defender is granted access to the cases of special category. In addition, the above should not be a one-time action or should not depend on the good will of the Prosecutor's Office in exceptional cases. Every citizen should have equal hopes and expectations of the Public Defender.

Of course, the Public Defender will get involved in the investigation process for the purpose of carrying out the supervisory function and her involvement will be as transparent as possible. For this purpose, a public advisory council will be set up in the Public Defender’s Office, and human rights organizations, members of the organizational group of the rallies and international experts will be invited to join the council. The Public Defender will conduct her activities through consulting with the aforementioned group and providing them with any available information about the investigation.

Furthermore, we would like to inform you that the Public Defender is going to work not only on issues relating to the investigation of the June 21 events, but also to study and evaluate systemic problems relating to the organization of rallies in the country. The rallies held in recent years showed serious problems in terms of organization of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, as well as in relation to the execution of decisions relating to the dispersal of demonstrations, which in most cases fail to meet the international standards of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Accordingly, the Public Defender urges not only the Prosecutor's Office, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Security Service, Special State Protection Service and all other relevant agencies to cooperate with her in the above-mentioned direction as much as possible.

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