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On 18 September 2014, the issue of creating a Temporary Investigative Commission for investigating the murder of Barbare Rapaliantsi was discussed at the plenary session of the Parliament. During the discussion, Member of Parliament, Giga Bukia, stated: “I am interested in knowing when the Parliament became an investigative body. Whose death should the Parliament study? The Parliament does not have the right to investigate.”

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of the MP’s statement.

According to Part 1 of Article 55 of the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, in the case of the existence of a respective basis, a Temporary Investigative Commission is created in the Parliament of Georgia to investigate facts of violations of Georgian law by state bodies and officials. The Commission is also created for studying special state and public issues.

Therefore, according to Georgian law, the Parliament is allowed to create a Temporary Investigative Commission. According to Part 4 of Article 57 of the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, the Temporary Investigative Commission is created only for studying a certain case and is dissolved immediately following the conclusion of the study. The case of Barbare Rapaliantsi can be considered to be a 'certain case.'

Giga Bukia made an additional statement concerning this topic: “… the [Temporary] Investigative Commission is created when someone suspects that a certain high official or a state institution is impeding the investigation and then the investigation is purposely stopped because of this.”

The Parliamentary Minority has long suspected that a certain high official or a state institution is impeding the investigation of the case of Barbare Rapaliantsi’s murder and that the investigative process has been purposely stopped. The decision to initiate the idea of creating a Temporary Investigative Commission was based precisely upon this reason. According to Part 2 of Article 55 of the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, the reasons for creating a Temporary Investigative Commission may be:

a) Information about an illegal act committed by an official or a corruptive violation of the law that put state security, sovereignty, territorial integrity, political, economic or other interests of Georgia under threat.

b) Information about the unlawful expenditure of the state budget or a local self-government entity budget.

c) Information that is crucial to be studied based upon state and public views.

In this case, as we have already stated, the Parliamentary Minority suspected that a high official or a state institution was intentionally impeding the investigational process which constitutes an illegal act. Moreover, it should be said that the public interest in the investigation of this case is also very high. Therefore, the investigation of this case is also deemed to be important based upon state and public views.

Of note is that the last Parliament already had the experience of creating a Temporary Investigative Commission. For example, on 1 May 2013, based upon the Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia, a Temporary Investigative Commission was created for studying the activity of the Georgian National Communications Commission. On 7 March 2014, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution concerning the activity of the aforementioned Temporary Investigative Commission. According to the document, the Parliament requested the immediate taking of necessary actions for measuring internet speed and protecting the interests of customers, considering the issue of illegally depriving the Obiektivi company of its frequency and returning it in the shortest terms, starting investigations on the violation of Georgian law by certain TV and radio companies and so on.

Based upon the aforementioned requests, we can conclude that the Parliament’sTemporary Investigative Commission made certain steps and ascertained that Obiektivi was illegally deprived of its own frequency and that the Samegrelo, Spektri and Tvali TV and radio companies violated Georgian law and so on.

Giga Bukia made another statement concerning this issue: “The Parliament does not have the right to implement investigative actions. We are not allowed to carry out an operative action, make analyses and interrogate anyone.”

As we have already noted, the action of the Temporary Investigative Commission for studying the actions of the Georgian National Communications Commission had specific results. According to Part 2 of Article 64 of the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, state institutions, officials, legal persons and individuals are obliged to provide, at the request of the Temporary Investigative Commission, the necessary conclusions and other materials within the terms specified by the Commission and according to its rules. According to Part 7 of the same Article 64, however, the Temporary Investigative Commission, based upon the case and certain circumstances, is allowed to invite any person and ask for a written explanation except in the cases foreseen by the law and the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia. Article 64 of the Regulations fully concerns the very broad rights granted to the Temporary Investigative Commission. Therefore, it is incorrect that the Temporary Investigative Commission is restricted in carrying out investigative actions.

Conclusion FactCheck

studied the necessary rules, bases and rights for creating the Parliament’s Temporary Investigative Commission. It also studied the specific case of the actions of the Temporary Investigative Commission and the specific results received by the action. The Parliament; more precisely, its Temporary Investigative Commission, is allowed to carry out an investigation and is authorised with certain powers necessary for the investigative action.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that the statement made by Giga Bukia: “The Parliament does not have the right to investigate,” is a LIE.

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