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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, Yatsenyuk Move Closer to NATO

Ukraine’s President, Prime Minister, and Parliament Speaker have sent a joint letter to NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer applying for the Membership Action Plan, a stepping stone toward joining the organization.

We hope that the progress attained by Ukraine in the framework of the Intensified Dialogue on membership issues and related reform will, in the near term, be recognized by the Alliance. Today, Ukraine is interested in acceding to the NATO Membership Action Plan.

We expect that the readiness level of our country to assume new commitments will be the basis for an affirmative response at the next Ukraine-NATO Summit in Bucharest in April 2008.

The Party of Regions strongly opposes the move, which comes amid a visit by Richard Lugar, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.



Anonymous said...

Here's a letter I got from a friend who has a friend in Georgia that wrote a letter to their president.


Mr. President,
Allow me to congratulate you on your election for the second Presidential term. Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration; at the same time I, as public Defender of Georgia, feel myself obliged to address you in the frame of my competence and once again remind you that the state in the field of protection of Human Rights in the country leaves much to be desired.


You have repeatedly pointed out that you are not in Public Defender’s good graces. I assure you that this doesn’t correspond to the reality; however, also for the future I can not promise to tolerate the facts of Human Rights violations.
It’s a great pity that all my attempts to research and make public the facts of Human Rights’ violations within my reach have been apprehended as malevolence. An indicative expression of this attitude was the fact that on November 7 the servants of special forces beat me with the bludgeons exactly as a Public Defender. They fulfilled the task set by the government. I do hope that you believe that I haven’t brought these facts because of my personal resentment and would like to convince you that my point of view can not become a subject to bludgeon-made-for change.
It is also regrettable that that the attitude towards the Human Rights in the country comprehends that the public bodies are not responding even to the facts of obvious violations. “There is no time for the Human Rights, (for) first we have to build the state”- this is a slogan of the governmental beau monde that declared the monopoly on infallibility and veracity. Who disagreed with has been declared to be an enemy of the state. I think that at present it became obvious that this “beau monde “ bestowed a doubtful benefit upon the country, yourself and themselves as well.
The officials seriously taking part in the estimation of country’s political course openly and cynically insulted the Human Rrights and, as a rule, appeared as protectors of those public servants who, in the full sense of the word, scorned the Human Rights.
We barely will be able to fight poverty, develop enterprises, become a better country, if we can’t protect the key factor – the Human Bbeing and his/her Rights. As you discussed the mistakes of government , I hope you will agree, that most of them refer to the Human Rights.
Recognising the mistakes is an important step that properly values the Georgian society , the society that awaits a very thing – the political will and readiness to improve these mistakes and never repeat them. Only substitution of old faces with the new ones in the Parliamentary list is not enough. It has to be improved the attitude towards the citizens, their rights and their


Indeed, over the past four years the state building has been marked off by a great many pecuniary developments; every citizen comprehends it; however everybody acknowledges that our society is being faced with the gravest situation in the field of Human Rights and , in this way, the citizens’ trust to the state is depreciating and the state consciousness is going corrupt.
We have to face the truth – the recent developments and crisis in our homeland has been engendered not by the state’s adversaries’ abstract or concrete actions (though they will of course try to profit from), but by the state, when the trampling down the Human Rights by the government almost became a mode of everyday life.
The homicides, contumelies, assault and battery, violation of ownership, demolition, bursting into and taking away property and afterwards discharging all this in TV with a cynical smile resulted in the November 2. The inexperienced public servants almost competed for an effective embittering the people. The violence and licence became the tools for showing his/her worth in work. Somebody was pouring out wine, the others have been rasing to the ground the garages and loggias, somebody was taking away the land and home, the fourth one – shutting down the enterprises etc.
The masks, machine carbines, TV-broadcasted arrests. . .
All this has been carried out under the slogan of interests of the state; however, I hope you will agree that in such contingency the public servants often get confused between the private and state interests.
We addressed with dozens and hundreds of letters and recommendations the appropriate bodies, Parliament; we pointed out that the actions concerned have been unlawful ones, but there was no response and no answer. It is as clear as noonday that all this has been causing trouble to the state and for the Government’s part – cutting the own twig, though at that time such behaviour was gauged as nearly heroism and not a mistake. The functionaries made their ways up on the tears and misfortune of others.
All this piled up drop by drop and the people went into the street; this has been responded by the government with manifestly disproportionate severity and the rubber bullets, that are not provided for by our legislation and, in this way, refer to a felony.
It has to be mentioned that the cynical explanations offered by the state representatives – the law does not define the use of rubber bullets, but implies it- is not a lesser offence and less painful as the rubber bullets themselves.
Fetching a vote of confidence happens rather by crudely interpretation of mistake or offence as a gospel truth than by mistakes themselves.
There is an influential group in government that comprehends the violence and use of force as an unique way for solving the problems in the country. But now we reached the stage, when we have to learn from our mistakes and renounce the constraints policy, the creators of this policy and violence apologists. Resumption of exercised practice will result in grave consequences for both the country and the government that unlawfully destroyed, took away, poured out etc. There are a great many of concrete facts and concrete names. These persons deserved to be punished for their actions, but on other hand – it would be a demonstrative warning for future officials.


It is beyond any doubt that a serious success in the fight against corruption and the shadow world has been reached. The people aren’t more taken away their money at every turn, the criminal world is not more assaulting businesses, looking into affairs and estimating the fairness according their own criteria.
These facts deserve to be appreciated.
At the same time, the matter of concern is the neocorruption, or in other words the “elite” corruption. There is a group of people that enjoy the everything- permissible-status; they are privileged in all aspects. They can exploit the official structures, dismiss, arrest whom they desire, shut down the business, destroy, take away, prohibit, sequestrate, etc. Them and their close people is permitted everything, what is nobody allowed.
As a matter of fact, they re-embodied the boss-criminals institute and became the new boss-criminals. The truth is what they are saying.
Of course, the “neo-boss-criminals“ does not suit the old boss-criminals and this is a positive factor; however, they also do not suit the independent justice, European Union, NATO- all those structures and organisations that could restrict their power. It is impossible to overlook that the real power of an official determines not a formal position but his/her place in the “neo-boss-criminals”’ hierarchy.
Every citizen comprehends this very well and this is a problem to be solved.


To my great regret, I have to corroborate that the fear syndrome really gained a foothold in our society. To date, it is difficult to speak of the free society in Georgia. It will be difficult for the observers from abroad to pay heed to and, for my part, I am also deprived of the possibility to documentary confirm how refrain the people from expression of their opinion in everyday life and offices. How are they pulling up the elements from the phones and whispering.
When the Government and opposition are abusing each other – it hasn’t to be equipollently understood as a freedom of expression. The ordinary citizens dread to lose their jobs, to be beaten, to be putted drugs, be at the bottom of arrest of their relatives; they think that each phone is being bugged. Of course, I am not asseverating that this applies to every case ( though there is a grain of truth in that) , but the people dread, really dread and this is an alarming symptom. This fear is one of the serious problems for our country.
The logic of developments prompts me that the promotion of this fear happens deliberately and purposefully. Apparently, in one governmental compartment prevails the view that in this way it is easier to govern the country; however the history tells us that the afraid people is dangerous first of all for the government itself.
If you would take interest in, you could easily become convinced that the foothold gained the routine practice of warning and notification -“ stop in order not to be beaten”, “we will arrest you”, “we will arrest your brother”, “we will arrest your husband”, “we will arrest your child”, “we will arrest your father”, “the financial (police) will burst in” etc.
These menaces are being convey on behalf of police, intelligence service, prosecutor’s office and are not laughing matter to at all; we have also not to request a civil heroism from everybody , especially taking into account that there are the concrete sorry facts obvious.
How could the people protect themselves in such situation? Apply to police, intelligence service, prosecutor’s office or go directly to the court?! This question still remains unanswered. But this answer has to be given in a brief space of time.


The Government declares that it strives to bring Georgia into the European family and gain foothold there; on the other hand there is no political will obvious in order to protect the European values in Georgia. And what is more, it seems that the devaluation of these values occurs in a purposeful mode.
The government’s question as regards the NATO accession has been answered positively by the people. The attitude of population was obvious without plebiscite too. The real question the people do have concerns another facet of this touchstone and in particular reads: whether the NATO accession is a real will of government itself?
One of core requests of NATO – establishment of independent justice and rule of law state- is not met yet .
Each citizen is very well aware and also the government confesses that the independency of courts doesn’t exists in the country and, therefore, the justice can not be obtained (!) Such state of matters is a source for every evil!
The courts have been transformed to the prosecutor’s office notary services and unfranchised makeweight. As to the prosecutor’s office, it became a monster and the citizen is absolutely unprotected in the face of it. In such contingency it is unavoidable the exceeding of prosecutors’ authority and quite often the abuse of prosecutors’ power happens too. If you would intently follow up, you could find out that the prosecutor’s office interferes and takes decisions practically in all sectors. The prosecutor’s office is exactly that body that in many respects rules the country at present; of course, unofficially, via phone calls. The officials are making even the unimportant decisions only after having agreed them with the prosecutor’s office. It is difficult to prove it documentary, but everybody knows that this is how matters stand and how could we connive at this?
How and where can find the ordinary citizen a justice against this monster? What is the sense of knowledge of laws and lawyer, when his/her destiny is determined beforehand and agreed somewhere “on the upper level”, as the saying in such cases goes.
If you would intently follow up, you could find out that there are numberous cases that the citizens are visiting the prosecutor’s office at midnight time and making presents of their ownership to the state. What is the reason for such infinite night altruism of our compatriots and why are they bitterly crying in the morning – it merits to be researched, doesn’t it? The number of such facts is quite high, which body could be engaged to investigate them?
In such cases the public servants are cynically advising the citizens to apply to the courts and there assert their truth.
I hope your advice will be different.


The Girgvliani case is a great black spot on the history of functioning of this government; this case demonstrates with a horrific clarity the situation in the field of justice in our country.
One important question concerns the objectivity of investigation; but another issue of no lower importance is – what moral and ethical criteria have been guiding the government while dealing with this problem.
What was the purpose of investigation as regards the Girgvliani and Robakidze cases, and in particular – the exposure of truth or keeping it back? We have to face the truth – the society treat the government with distrust, even because of its position. There was not only ommited the political responsibility of Vano Merabishvili, the Minister of Internal, but it was also selflessly spoken in support of him by the group that at one time praised to the skies Irakli Okruashvili and now is reviling him; Vano Merabishvili has been declared to be backbone of the country by this group. The attitude was an explicit one – as long as it suits them, everybody is innocent, when it begins to be inconvenient to them, everybody becomes guilty. Due to the fact that the government and justice are merged together in our country , the guiding criteria for the investigation have been the same as in case of government.
You don’t need my advise on the issue that in Europe we are striving to, such fact would inevitably result in political responsibility and in particular not only of the Minister of Internal but also of the government as a team. In our country happened an opposite.
What comment could be given on the fact that Mr. Data Akhalaia still unofficially holds his post! His position still fills Irakli Kodua, suspected in a gravest crime, the documents furnishing the evidence for this crime I delivered up to the prosecutor’s office. Reportedly, the investigation is being carried out that aims to make the society forget the issue.
I do appreciate your intention to thoroughly renew the government’s staff; however I feel obliged to advise you not to engage those people whose names are associated with the violation of Human Rights.
The society suspects of your intention to carry out only the tactical rearrengements, live the real levers in the hands of the same officials and formally appoint their marionettes. Such practice has been already exercised in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
I hope this will not come true, the society expects the real changes from you.

The issue of independent broadcasting is a point I would like certainly touch, for it is of essential significance for the development of a free society. At present the situation there is also quite far from perfect.
If we strive to improve the situation without any further delay, there is no need to waste the time for the self-targeted discussion on the question of channels’ ownership and the purposes the broadcasting serves. There are great many of questions in this field can be discussed later.
At present it is of essential importance without any further delay to establish really independent supervisory board at the public broadcaster that will be able to comprehend the interests of the whole society and not only of one political group.
If the political will to make really independent the channel financed at the expences of society really exists, this issue can be solved very rapidly and easily. If such will doesn’t exist, the arguing in favour of existing independence of public broadcaster will continue, but the society will not adopt this, the discussions and debates will move into the street.

The elections always have been the Achilles’ hell of the young Georgian democracy. The main reason for this is the fact that the party possessing the majority and the executive government are merged together and, therefore, in course of elections one player is supported not only by the administrative resource but also by the law enforcement bodies – Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor’s Office, Intelligence Service etc.
The fact that your HQ in fact has been guided by the Minister of Internal makes difficult to meet the European standards in this regard. The Minister of Internal chaired the meetings with the local party chairmen, police officials, intelligence servants, prosecutors, municipality chairmen, governors, instructed them for carrying out the elections and advised them on the concrete plans. Of course the protocols for these meetings haven’t been furnished and no observer from abroad took part in, but the fact remains – in a small country nothing could be kept secret.
When the mode of work of the state machinery is such one, there always will appear the falsification wishers and exercisers on place; the drawing force for them is to please to officials through meeting and overfulfilling the plans. They are obliged to do so and the general calls can not change this attitude.
Please, don’t believe that those chairmen of police stations who stole the protocols, did it because they respect you. They simply feared for punishment in case of undesirable result.
Under such conditions it is impossible to carry out the fair elections. The logical results of real frame conditions are the scarred population, stolen ballot papers, throwing the additional ballot papers etc. At the end the population loses the trust in government and moves into the street. I hope you will agree that it is not normal for the capital city to have almost all means of transport engaged by the ruling party in order to move their supporters. The same happened in the regions. I hope you will agree , this transport doesn’t move towards Europe.
Soon the Parliamentary elections are to be held. It would be not enough to rely only on the assessments of the observers from abroad. The decisively important is the assessment of Georgian people. That’s why it is so important the real and full depolitisation of the law enforcers.


Mister President,
You expressed the will to collaborate with everybody.
The pre-condition for a fair and real collaboration in my opinion is showing in its true light the truth irrespective of how disagreeable it would be. That’s why I feel myself obliged to share with you my view on present situation. This obligation is based on belief that you are able and should take today the steps that could essentially improve the situation in the country. Believe me, there is a great expectation in the society that you are able to do it.
The problem list is not exhausted by the points listed above, there are several essential topics in the filed of Human Rights that could be step by step resolved under condition that the core issue runs in proper mode and the state turns towards liberalism and humanism.


Sozar Subari

Taras said...

Sozar Subari is a Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia.

On Jan. 5, Georgia held an early presidential election and a referendum on NATO membership.

While, according to election officials, Mikheil Saakashvili secured his reelection with 53.4 percent of the vote, the idea of NATO membership galvanized some 72.5 percent.