08TBILISI2224, GEORGIA: NEW JUSTICE MINISTER DISCUSSES BUSINESS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2224 2008-12-01 14:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3045
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2224/01 3361426
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011426Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0482
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002224 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EINV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: NEW JUSTICE MINISTER DISCUSSES BUSINESS 
DISPUTES AND OTHER JUSTICE ISSUES 
 
REF: A. A) TBILISI 2171 
     B. B) TBILISI 546 
     C. C) TBILISI 2072 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
 1.  (C)  Summary:  In a November 29 meeting, Ambassador 
raised two ongoing commercial cases involving U.S. companies 
with newly-appointed Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili. 
Regarding the Basel case, Adeishvili acknowledged that he had 
heard of allegations of corruption and bribe-taking by the 
judge, but said that Basel group attorneys had not provided 
evidence during the appeal to indicate that a bribe had 
occurred.  Since then, Deputy Minister of Justice Tina 
Burjaliani had met with Basel's attorney from Patton Boggs 
about the case.  On a separate commercial dispute involving 
another American company, Adeishvili told the Ambassador he 
understood the Maudi/Zurgavani case had been clarified and no 
issues remained.  Adeishvili told the Ambassador that he 
expects the criminal procedure code to be passed by 
Parliament in February 2009.  He went on to say that the 
Interagency Council for the Optional Protocol Against Torture 
(OPCAT) chaired by MOJ was waiting on input from the Public 
Defender's Office (PDO).  The proposed MOJ amendment to 
existing legislation would give the PDO responsibility for 
monitoring all closed facilities.  Adeishvili did not share 
much insight on the upcoming merger of the MOJ and the 
Prosecutor's Office, only saying that the Prosecutor 
General's Office will not have a deputy and most of the 
Deputy Ministers within the MOJ would continue as before.  He 
was not sure who would head the new independent Probation and 
Penitentiary Department, but said it would most likely be 
Bacho Akhalaia, the current head within the Justice Ministry. 
 End Summary. 
 
Basel and Maudi Commercial Cases 
 
2.  (C)  The Ambassador informed Adeishvili that an important 
area of his responsibility is ensuring that American 
businesses and investors are given fair and just treatment 
abroad.  The Ambassador asked about the status of the 
complaints made by the Basel group regarding the judicial 
proceedings regarding its commercial dispute and passed to 
Adeishvili documents prepared by the group's legal counsel, 
Patton Boggs.  (Embassy note: Basel's counsel alleges that 
the Georgian judge in the case is corrupt and has accepted 
bribes from Basel's opponent.  End note.)  The Ambassador 
stressed that the United States does not intervene in ongoing 
court cases, but he wanted to ensure that the Minister was 
aware of Basel's claims and to urge that the Government 
review the allegations and provide a response.  Adeishvili 
said that if there is someone who can substantiate the claim 
of bribes against the judge, that he or she should testify 
during the appeal.  He said Patton Boggs had not yet 
presented evidence as proof of this claim.  Regarding the 
other U.S. dispute, the Maudi case, Adeishvili understood 
that the matter of the firm getting the necessary 
certificates that they needed to operate had been resolved. 
(Note:  Post continues to follow up with the American 
investor to ensure all elements of the dispute have been 
addressed, following up on the Ambassador's meeting with the 
Prime Minister on this topic - ref A. End Note.)  The 
Ambassador also added that there is congressional interest in 
both cases in Washington. 
 
MOJ and Prosecutor General Office Merger 
 
3.  (C)  Commenting on the upcoming merger of the Ministry of 
Justice and the Prosecutor General's Office, Adeishvili, who 
met with the Ambassador in the same office where he once sat 
Qmet with the Ambassador in the same office where he once sat 
as Prosecutor General and now sits as the Justice Minister, 
said that the building where the current MOJ is housed would 
be sold.  A new building would be erected on the grounds of 
the prosecutor general's complex.  He did not expect that the 
workings of the MOJ would change much, nor would the staff 
change, specifically Deputy Minister Tina Burjaliani.  He 
estimated the number of MOJ employees to be 2,700, since 
Legal Aid Offices, the Penitentiary Department and the 
Forensics Bureaus would no longer fall under MOJ. 
 
Prediction for the Criminal Procedure Code: Early 2009 
 
4.  (C)  With regard to the passage of the new Criminal 
Procedure Code, Adeishvili said that the proposed text, now 
sitting in the parliament's legal committee, could expect to 
pass a second reading by the end of the year, with passage 
after the third reading most likely in February 2009.  He 
indicated that he didn't foresee any major problems, but 
currently the committee is mired in "technical problems."  He 
planned to call Speaker Bakradze to encourage discussion and 
 
TBILISI 00002224  002 OF 002 
 
 
movement of the proposed legislation.   The Ambassador 
strongly supported the early passage of the Code. 
 
Interagency Council for OPCAT 
 
5.  (C)
 Adeishvili said that Giga Bokeria would continue to 
chair the Interagency Council for OPCAT, although he is now 
working as the Deputy Foreign Minister, (Ref B).  (Comment: 
The Council has met fewer than seven times since its creation 
in 2007 and was previously chaired by Bokeria when he was an 
MP, and Deputy Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani.  Bokeria 
has not yet chaired a meeting since being appointed Deputy 
Foreign Minister.  Since the Penitentiary Department will no 
longer fall within the MOJ, there have been questions about 
the future of the Interagency Council. End comment.)  The 
Council met November 22 to propose an amendment that would 
designate the Ombudsman's office as the independent body 
which would monitor treatment in all closed facilities. 
Notably absent from the meeting was a representative of the 
PDO, although representatives from the PDO had been invited. 
Conventional wisdom is that the PDO could be designated as 
the monitoring arm, but now it appears that Ombudsman Sozar 
Subari himself may weigh in on proposed changes to the 
legislation which would affect the role of his office. 
Adeishvili believed that Subari was concentrating more on 
politics than the designated role of his office, something 
other independent observers have also recently echoed (Ref 
C). 
TEFFT

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