Abkhazia/Georgia: Georgian communist party Chairman on legal challenge to Shevardnadze
Retired General Panteleimon Giorgadze, who ran unsuccessfully against Eduard Shevardnadze in the 1995 Georgian presidential elections, intends to bring legal proceedings against the latter in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for condoning human rights violations in Georgia. Giorgadze told RFE/RL's Tbilisi bureau in early February that he is pleased that Georgia has been accepted conditionally into full membership of the Council of Europe, since that body will now find out "what is really happening in Georgia." Giorgadze claimed that human rights are being violated in Georgia on a daily, if not hourly, basis, and that it is the responsibility of the Council of Europe to ascertain who is responsible for those violations. He conceded that although President Shevardnadze should be aware of developments in Georgia, "I am convinced that there are many things he does not know."
Giorgadze further expressed his agreement with the negative evaluation by Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili at last month's UN Security Council meeting of the role of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed on the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. But Giorgadze attributed the peacekeepers' inability to fulfill their responsibilities to Moscow's neglect of their needs and to lack of cooperation from the Georgian leadership. Recalling his own experience in 1992-93 as commander of the Georgian peacekeeping force in South Ossetia, Giorgadze said the Georgian authorities did nothing to help and everything to hinder its activities. He added that the Abkhaz conflict cannot be resolved by force, but only by both sides sitting down together at the negotiating table.
Giorgadze then explained the United Communist Party of Georgia's opposition to the recent law permitting the sale of non-agricultural land. Giorgadze reasoned that more than 80 percent of the population of Georgia is experiencing acute financial difficulties. When people are desperate, he continued, they are prepared to sell their land as a last resort, just as they are prepared to sell their own internal organs. Thus, theoretically large tracts of land could be sold to foreigners. Giorgadze claimed that opposition to the law, which he said was passed "without asking the people's opinion," is not confined to his party, "the whole of Georgia is against it."
Finally, Giorgadze dismissed as "premature" the proposal made by some members of his party to nominate his son Igor, the former National Security Minister who left Georgia in 1995 after being accused of masterminding the failed car-bomb attack on Shevardnadze, as a candidate for either the parliamentary elections due this fall or the presidential poll next year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January 1999). Describing Igor Giorgadze's political views as "liberal, contemporary, and close to social-democracy," Giorgadze pere did not exclude the possibility that his son might still be named as a parliamentary candidate. (Liz Fuller)
Copyright (c) 1999. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. The RFE/RL Caucasus Report is prepared by Liz Fuller based on news and analyses from "RFE/RL Newsline" and RFE/RL's Armenian-, Azerbaijani-, Georgian- and Russian- language broadcasts.
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