On 6 February 2015, whilst a guest of the talk show, Reaction,

the Parliamentary Majority MP, Tina Khidasheli, talked about the Trial Monitoring Report of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). According to the MP, the report of the OSCE says nothing about selective justice in Georgia. She said that the Report does, indeed, talk about the incorrect use of pre-trial detention but the decisions in these cases are made by judges and not the political leadership. Hence, it is inappropriate to question the independence of the courts.

On 9 December 2014, the OSCE presented its Trial Monitoring Report of Georgia. The document examines the trials of high-ranking officials of the previous government held after 2012 when the new government assumed office. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) thanks the Government of Georgia for its cooperation in the process of monitoring and for constantly implementing reforms in the country’s judicial system. The Report also discusses the flaws in the system and the facts pointing to the existence of certain risks for just courts. Hence, the OSCE/ODIHR issued some recommendations to the Government of Georgia about the flaws revealed in the aforementioned trials.

The OSCE Report (

page 6) says that a number of flaws were revealed in various fields in the process of monitoring: public trust in the criminal justice system, the right to public hearings, the presumption of innocence, the right to refuse to testify against oneself and the right to remain silent, the right of freedom, the equality of the parties, the right to a trial in a reasonable period of time, the right to summon a witnesses and his or her questioning, the right to an argumentative court decision, the right to have a lawyer and the protection of witnesses.

The Report points out that Georgia’s court system, in general, provides for the possibility of trial by independent courts. The Constitution of Georgia and judicial acts are in accordance with international standards; however, the OSCE monitoring mission expresses its doubts about the independence of courts in certain cases. According to the Report, these doubts are further confirmed by the practice of choosing and appointing courts. This practice might be unable to provide immunity to judges. This remark deals with the issue of the practice of transferring the judges from one court to another and the distribution of the cases among them which is absolutely non-transparent and provides for the possibility of manipulation and interference. Changing judges without any explanation whilst a case is still under consideration violates internal laws of procedure. According to the assessment of the monitoring mission, such precedents cast doubts upon the independence of the judicial system as a whole.

The Report also remarks (page 7) that the comments made by certain officials about a number of court cases indicated a certain influence and control wielded by these people which influenced public opinion, the impartiality of the Prosecutor’s Office and the political neutrality of the judicial system. Despite overwhelming public interest, judges limited the opportunity for having trials and often failed to justify the necessity for these decisions. The monitoring also revealed a problem in obtaining the date, time and place of the trials.

According to the monitoring team’s Report (page 8), officials often violated the principle of the presumption of innocence. The statements of the members of the government, made before the verdicts, disregarded the aforementioned principle and went ahead with the court verdicts which influenced the public to view the accused as guilty. The Report also says that judges refused the appeals of the defence to repeal their decisions about pre-trial detention without sufficient argumentation which created the impression of their being biased.

There were flaws regarding the principle of the equality of the parties as well. The non-provision of necessary information to the accused about their rights put them in unequal conditions with regard to the prosecution which facilitates the actual violation of the equality of the parties. There were cases when defence lawyers were not given enough time to prepare which also violated the principle of the equality of the parties.

According to the recommendation of the OSCE, it is important to establish a high standard of argumentation in terms of imprisonment as a preventative measure. The OSCE calls upon the Parliament of Georgia to modify the legislation so as to systematically overview imprisonment as a preventative measure and put the burden of proof on the extension of the pre-trial detention on the defence.


The Report of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), as a result of observing the on-going trials in Georgia, talks about the flaws in the country’s judicial system. Specifically, the monitoring of the trials of former high-ranking officials revealed several problems which violated the principle of just courts.

It is true that the Report of the OSCE does not use the phrase "selective justice;" however, a large number of doubts are expressed about the independence of the courts in taking decisions against the members of the previous government and other high-ranking officials. FactCheck

shares Ms Khidasheli’s opinion that this could have been caused by a variety of reasons such as the non-professionalism of judges, corruption, influence of public attitudes, inclination of dependency upon the government, political influences (selective justice) and so on. The Report, however, also says that officials often violated the principle of the presumption of innocence and the statements of the members of the government which were made before the verdicts and went ahead with the court verdicts which influenced the public to view the accused as guilty. In addition, absolutely non-transparent occurrences of changing judges during the trials in violation of internal procedure codes were also recorded. These judges then sentenced the representatives of the previous government to pre-trial detention or refused to repeal such sentences without sufficient argumentation.

FactCheck concludes that Tina Khidasheli’s statement is HALF TRUE.