On February 3rd, 2022, Marika Kublashvili, the host of the program “Beyond Focus” on the pro-Kremlin TV “Alt Info”, spoke about the interference of Western partners in the internal affairs of Georgia. According to Kublashvili, the influence of European partners on Georgian institutions is so significant that the Georgian Parliament first sends the bills to the Venice Commission and starts discussing them only after receiving their support.
Marika Kublashvili: “The degree of [Western] interference and influence is so great that through the attempts of our Western partners, Georgia has become a parliamentary republic, of course, for our own well-being. From this day on, only the Georgian people rule the country. Only with the delegation of the Georgian people does the Parliament of Georgia adopt the bills for the population. So what, that before the hearings, the bills are first sent to the Venice Commission before they are discussed, and if our Western partners give them the green light, the people-elected Parliament will also be happy to vote.”
The claim of the host of “Alt-Info” about the Venice Commission is manipulative. The Parliament of Georgia has no obligation to send any draft bills to the Venice Commission. According to the established practice, only the laws of constitutional significance, which are controversial or especially relevant in the Georgian political space, are sent to the Venice Commission by the Parliament of Georgia. In this case, too, the Venice Commission acts as an impartial mediator and returns the bill to the Parliament of Georgia with its recommendations, which are voluntary to fulfill.
The Venice Commission is an advisory body composed of independent experts of constitutional law, working with the governments of Central and Eastern European countries, mainly on legal matters relating to the constitution and the electoral system. The Venice Commission has been working with Georgia since 2002. Experts from the Venice Commission were also involved in the process of adopting the new Constitution of Georgia based on the appeal of the Georgian authorities, which included recommendations and a legal assessment of the constitutional amendments.
The statement of “Alt Info” host, Marika Kublashvili, is manipulative and creates the impression that the Parliament of Georgia can only discuss and adopt the bills agreed with the Venice Commission. The Parliament of Georgia has no obligation to forward the draft laws to the Venice Commission or to take into account the recommendations of the Commission. According to the established practice, only those draft laws are sent to the Venice Commission, which are of constitutional significance and on which no internal consensus can be reached in the Georgian political space. Following the submission of the draft law to the Venice Commission, the Commission’s experts assess the draft law’s compliance with the principles of democracy and the rule of law and issue relevant recommendations, although Parliament has no direct obligation to heed the Commission’s advice.
At various times, the Parliament of Georgia had approved legislative changes related to the judiciary before the Commission received its assessments of the draft law or did not take the Commission’s recommendations into account when adopting the law. For its part, the State Parliament’s consideration of the recommendations and assessments of the Venice Commission is important only insofar as the main purpose of the Venice Commission’s work is to establish European standards for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the country’s legislation.
Manipulative claims that the West is trying to control Georgia’s judiciary have been disseminated by Alt-Info in the past as well. For more, see:
- 7 Messages of the Prime Minister and Anti-Western Groups about the EU Financial Aid and Judicial Reforms
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