Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Clarification of Georgian patriarch's pardoning powers

Tbilisi, December 7 (Interfax) - Georgian Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili believes the initiative of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia to give him the right to pardon convicts is a misunderstanding.

"I cannot recall a situation when this heavy burden was placed on anyone except for the president," Usupashvili told reporters, commenting on the initiative voiced by the patriarch, saying he should have the right to pardon convicts and accused persons.

"I don't recall such a constitutional model. It seems that we have a misunderstanding here because I don't know of precedents when it was done differently: pardon as exemption from punishment. It's a prerogative of the president," Usupashvili said.

The Georgian patriarch, who watched a play staged by convicted women in the Rustaveli Tbilisi State Drama in the company of government officials on Saturday, said he should have the right to pardon convicts.

"I think the patriarch should have the right to pardon prisoners and accused persons. We have spoken about that with the prime minister and I hope he will raise this question," Ilia II said.

Some politicians and members of the Georgian public negatively reacted to the patriarch's initiative, believing that this idea contradicts the spirit of the country's constitutional system, in accordance with which only the president has the right to pardon prisoners.

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