Speeches & Statements
President Saakshvili introduces Kote Kublashvili to the Supreme Court (welcome speech)
Let me welcome everybody. It's a little unusual that we have to introduce a new chairman of the Supreme Court for the second time in only a few months.
Such events take place when an active politician comes into office. It is typical of politicians to change posts. Kote Kublashvili is a person who has never been a politician and has never been a party member, though that is not a defect for a person. With his character and personality he is an ideal candidate for the post of a judge and for the post of the chairman of the Supreme Court as well.
The parliament has made a constitutional amendment downsizing the parliament by 95 seats. This is an issue that has not been solved at any time by any government. Our government promptly makes decisions since it is a government of people. What was seen as inconceivable has completely changed in only two months. We have built a completely new police force; a completely new public service has been established, a new type of relationship has been formed between the government and the public. There have also been amendments to the law. I have not been busy increasing my personal popularity for the past year. I have been busy making "unpopular moves". But at the same time we did our best to increase public trust towards state institutions and make them the most respected by the public.
I would like to say that when we carried out court reforms in 1999-2001, the courts became the most trusted and authoritative state body. Many of us took part in that process. At that time the courts were more respected than the police, the prosecutor's office, the parliament and the president. Today the opposite is true as any survey shows. Everyone should think about why this happened.
Not because people say bad things about the courts - I am sure they say plenty of bad things about the president, police and prosecutors too.
The police force was trusted by 6 per cent, now this figure has increased to 95 per cent. The police has become much more popular. New employees with a sense of professionalism and pride have started working in the police force. The same happened in the prosecutor's office. Many of you have worked in these bodies. The prosecutors wanted to have a different relationship with the public.
Everyone has to think about and reflect why problems emerged in this system - each of you has to take responsibility yourself.
We chose the course of reforming legislation and thus we have introduced new institutions. I know very well how criminal law works in Georgia. Before, if they wanted to arrest organized crime bosses, they would plant drugs into his pocket and thus arrest the person.
Now everyone knows quite well that they are not able to artificially create evidences. If there are exceptions I ask you to seriously react to them and throw out any case with illegally obtained evidences.
You know that any Georgian citizen is welcome to return to Georgia. You know that many famous dancers, scientists, sportsmen and ordinary people have returned to Georgia.
The organized crime bosses - so called "thievs-in-law" were happy to learn that the Georgian government no longer fabricates evidence and they have begun to return. The main achievement of the government, and my main achievement, is that we have driven these people away from Georgia and we will not welcome them back. As a result we will make amendments to the law that will enable us officially criminalize and penelize any participant of organized crime gathering and discussion. We will introduce these amendments to the parliament next week.
We are also talking about the plea-bargaining system, which has caused concern among foreign experts. This system means that a person officially pays money and is released from prison.
The European, whose state budget is about hundreds of billions and where a politician can steal hundreds of thousand can't understand it, but it's a big temptation for us. We have officials who have paid serious sums of money. For instance, one man paid enough for us to pay three months of pension arrears. Our choice was clear.
Soon we will make amendments to the law. Hope it will be done in a month and the country would soon have a common legal system and everyone would be punished in accordance with the law.
This is the next reform that will be prepared in the near future.
You know executive power meddles in judicial cases. I have never called any of you concerning a particular issue and I am not going to do so.
Now you will have a judge, a chairman of the Supreme Court, whom I regard to be the epitome of fairness and honesty.
Many judges who work here also have many good human attributes. The rule of law and fairness are the main principle of my life and we will do everything to achieve it. I will do it because there will not always be Saakashvili, a natural change of a leader will happen, but not so early as many think, hope to serve my full two terms. Many of you will not hold the posts, though we all want to live long. But the laws and institutions we have made will remain and survive their creators.
Together with you I have an ambition to build a new country. We have worked a miracle this year. Today's downsizing of the parliament, by the parliaments own decision, is one of those miracles. It is not my and your merit. It is a result of the revolution made by the Georgian people.
I do not want you to think that I am going to interfere in the activities of the court. I ask you to be objective, just and display solidarity with the public. We, our children and grandchildren, are members of this society and that can't be exchanged for anything. Thank you very much. I ask you to support the new chairman.
of the President of Georgia