Daily Archives: July 9, 2007

07TBILISI1621, DETAINEE TREATMENT BETTER–TRANSPARENCY STILL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1621 2007-07-09 13:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8108
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1621/01 1901339
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091339Z JUL 07 ZDK ZDK///SVCS FROM ALL ADDRESSEES//
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6942
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001621 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: DETAINEE TREATMENT BETTER--TRANSPARENCY STILL 
LACKING 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1042 
 
     B. TBILISI 1299 
 
TBILISI 00001621  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: Georgia's Ombudsman told DCM and Poloff in a 
meeting on 5 July that detainee treatment at pre-trial 
detention centers has improved due to monitoring of these 
venues.  He recounted specific cases where independence of 
courts, instances of misuse of power by police, government's 
infringement of property rights of citizens, and inadequate 
prison conditions for inmates still continue.  Subari 
expressed his satisfaction with the U.S. State Department's 
Human Rights Report (HRR) for Georgia which he said helped 
him in his work and his dealings with the Georgian executive 
and legislative branches.  END SUMMARY. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
The Role of the Public Defender Office 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) DCM and Poloff met with Sozar Subari, Georgia's 
Public Defender/Ombudsman, on 5 July.  At the outset of the 
meeting Subari described the mandate of the Public Defender. 
His office is permitted to receive information from any 
government agency and provide recommendations to the 
appropriate agency; his recommendations, however, are not 
binding.  The Public Defender's Office is a parliamentary 
agency and is accountable to Parliament. 
 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Detainee Maltreatment Down, Funding Up 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C)  Subari related to DCM and Poloff that the incidents 
of maltreatment of pre-trial detainees are decreasing 
following the introduction of Ombudsman's monitoring of these 
venues (reftel A).  As a result of "unannounced visits" by 
the Ombudsman's staff, the incidence of physical abuse of 
detainees has significantly decreased, and special record 
books on detainees are reviewed to ensure that detainees are 
being logged into the system and relatives are notified of 
their detention in a timely manner.  Additionally, Subari 
noted that the increase of funding from 300,000 GEL (179, 640 
USD) to 600,000 GEL (359,282 USD) for inmate health care was 
a positive sign, although the increase is still not 
sufficient and serious health problems remain in the prison 
health care system.  He highlighted in particular the spread 
of tuberculosis, inadequate treatment of diagnosed 
inmate-patients, and poor practice of maintaining medical 
records as lingering problems. The subordination of the 
prison health system is unclear as 
 to whether it belongs to the Ministry of Justice or to the 
Ministry of Health and this lack of clarity has no one agency 
in a responsive role. 
 
------------------ 
Lingering Problems 
------------------ 
 
4.  (C) Subari stressed that major human rights problems 
still are prevalent in the country due to the lack of 
independence of courts, instances of abuse of power by 
police, government's infringement on property rights, and 
inadequate prison conditions (reftel B). He highlighted 
specific instances of police falsification of evidence in the 
killing of Robakidze by the patrol police in 2004 and recent 
inhumane treatment of inmates in Rustavi prison where inmates 
were kept naked for the purpose of punishment.  Subari 
underlined the inappropriate actions and corruptness of the 
Special Operation Department (MOIA), and their involvement in 
the illegal detention of three young men in Svaneti. His 
professional opinion is that Georgia's judicial system is not 
yet mature enough to ban the presence of video and television 
cameras in the courtroom.  He acknowledged that perhaps in 
America this would be understandable, but in Georgia there is 
still strong distrust of the judicial branch and passage of a 
law prohibiting re 
cording devices from the courtroom would only cement further 
this distrust. 
 
----------------------------- 
Lack of Parliamentary Support 
----------------------------- 
 
5. (C)  Subari regretfully noted the lack of Parliament's 
support to his agency.  He recalled in particular 
Parliament's reaction to his 2005 annual report which was 
critical of the religious minorities' situation in Georgia. 
In the course of his presentation, the majority of the 
Parliament walked out in protest.  Parliament was also very 
 
TBILISI 00001621  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
late in adopting its resolution on the report.  When the 
resolution was adopted, its stated that the Parliament did 
not share the Ombudsman's position on the religious minority 
issues.  Subari stressed that the same reaction occurred to 
his 2006 report to which he is still awaiting a reply. During 
the last year the Public Defender's Office has submitted 
seven claims to the Constitutional Court of Georgia, but only 
one of those has been satisfied.  He specifically noted a 
particular incident when the Parliament adopted a certain 
provision overruled by the Constitutional Court. The 
provision refers to the purchase of the minimal amo
unt of 
shares in the possession of share-hold 
ers in a joint-stock company by the owners of the majority of 
shares at a "fair price" against the will of their owners. 
The Ombudsman's Office filed a lawsuit with the 
Constitutional Court on behalf of the owners of the minimal 
amount of shares and won the case, but the Parliament 
disregarded this precedent. 
 
-------------- 
Praise for HRR 
-------------- 
 
6. (C) Subari expressed his satisfaction with the HRR for 
Georgia which he said helped him in his regular work dealing 
with the Georgian executive and legislative branches.  He 
expressed frustration at the lack of support for his work by 
the executive and legislative branches; he said that the HRR 
echoed many of his same concerns and that it gave additional 
credence to his concerns before the other two branches. 
 
7. (C) Subari told Poloff that in contrast to other public 
structures where budgets have grown 200 per cent or more, his 
budget has not increased in the last three years, despite the 
increase in workload.  He himself admits that his two 
priorities, the fight against torture and protection of the 
rights of national and ethnic minorities are not 
enthusiastically embraced by the administration and often put 
him in direct opposition to the powers that be.  He noted 
with pride that the prestige of his office has grown and now 
occupies second place only to the Georgian Orthodox Church as 
far as public trust. 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI1619, GOOD SIGNS AND BAD AT SOUTH OSSETIA DONORS’

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07TBILISI1619.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1619 2007-07-09 13:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6945
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1619/01 1901321
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 091321Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6939
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001619 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID OSCE GG
SUBJECT: GOOD SIGNS AND BAD AT SOUTH OSSETIA DONORS' 
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1573 
 
     B. TBILISI 1563 
     C. TBILISI 1540 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) A July 2 meeting in Tskhinvali of the Steering 
Committee for the donors' South Ossetia economic 
rehabilitation projects was marked by confrontations between 
the Georgian and South Ossetian sides -- including over 
whether the Georgian delegation would be allowed into South 
Ossetia for the meeting, and over proposals for inspection of 
the regions' contested drinking water pipeline.  In between 
these disputes, however, the sides managed to agree to 
authorize contracting for the first three school 
reconstruction projects, and endorsed moving ahead in other 
areas as well.  End Summary. 
 
Difficult Entry, Difficult Exit 
------------------------------- 
2. (C) The meeting, which had been delayed several weeks 
because of Georgian concerns about a lack of information on 
the projects (ref C), started over two hours late, in part 
because South Ossetian officials initially refused to allow 
the Georgian delegation to enter the separatist region. 
South Ossetian officials explained to donor representatives 
during the wait that they had told the Georgians each side 
would be limited to two participants, but the Georgians 
showed up with four officials of the State Ministry of 
Conflict Resolution.  After considerable negotiation the 
South Ossetians relented and allowed all four Georgians in 
for the meeting.  Donors would later find it difficult to 
exit South Ossetia as well; by the time the meeting was over 
Georgian farmers protesting the South Ossetians' closure of 
an irrigation canal had blocked and partially dug up the 
Transcaucasian Highway just inside Georgian-controlled 
territory south of Tskhinvali.  Donors took another route 
back to Tbilisi. 
 
Impasse over Pipe Inspection 
---------------------------- 
3. (SBU) Although it was not an item on the meeting's agenda, 
the sides spent much time sparring over proposals for a joint 
inspection of the drinking water pipeline that runs from the 
separatist-controlled north, through a Georgian enclave, to 
Tskhinvali (ref B).  The Georgians proposed that, after the 
 
SIPDIS 
meeting, participants travel to Java in the separatist area, 
and proceed from there to conduct a full inspection of the 
pipe, including in Georgian areas.  The South Ossetians 
refused, insisting that an inspection begin in Kheiti, where 
the Georgians repaired a damaged section of pipe in early 
June, and proceed elsewhere from there.  No agreement was 
reached (ref A), and each side expressed certainty that any 
problems affecting water volume were caused in the other 
side's area.  DCM noted that the donors' projects were 
intended to help solve problems such as this, and urged the 
sides to use the opportunity to improve the water network 
rather than arguing about where to start an inspection. 
 
And Yet...Some Progress 
----------------------- 
4. (SBU) Despite all the difficulties, the two sides agreed 
to all the items OSCE had put on the meeting's official 
agenda, most notably authorizing OSCE to contract for the 
reconstruction of three schools.  OSCE agreed that it would 
share with the sides by July 3 full documentation about all 
bids for the projects, with the understanding that if neither 
side objected by July 5 OSCE could go ahead.  (OSCE confirmed 
to us July 6 that both sides had received the materials and 
neither had voiced objections.)  Participants also endorsed 
OSCE's proposal to plan for constructing a combined clinic 
and school in Sveri, a modification of the originally agreed 
project that was only a clinic.  The sides also expressed 
support for OSCE's approach on several water-related 
projects, three of which are nearing the conclusion of the 
bidding process, and responded positively to OSCE's 
suggestion of another Steering Committee meeting in the near 
feature to focus on water issues.  OSCE briefed on ongoing 
agricultural and business development trainings and other 
activities, and the Georgians expressed concerns about South 
Ossetian efforts to limit participation in certain activities. 
 
Comment 
------- 
5. (C) While this meeting contained more than the usual 
amount of confrontation between the sides, in the end it 
achieved everything OSCE had hoped it would, permitting the 
first school re-construction projects to get underway.  Since 
 
TBILISI 00001619  002 OF 002 
 
 
the meeting, the Georgians have taken at least two steps 
designed to lower tensions: seeking agreement for an OSCE 
team to inspect the drinking water pipe, and proposing a 
meeting of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) without a set 
agenda (although the South Ossetians subsequently announced 
they could not accept the Georgians' proposed site, Tbilisi). 
 Neverthele
ss, as a sudden standoff between the sides in 
Avnevi July 6 demonstrates, the potential for a major 
escalation in tensions remains. 
 
TEFFT

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