On November 3rd of 2013, President of Georgia pardoned former Minister of Internal Affairs Bachana Akhalaia 14 days before expiration of his presidential term in the so called “prison mutiny” case in which the court had made decision on October 28th according to which Bachana Akhalaia was convicted to three years and nine months in prison.
The Presidential decree #277 regarding the Rules of Pardon adopted on July 19th of 2004 stipulates concrete rules which have to be complied to pardon individual. To have served 1/3 of the sentence and request to be pardoned are essential grounds for the pardon. These grounds have not been met in this case. However, according to paragraph 7th of article 2 of the decree, President of Georgia is authorized to pardon someone without complying with these rules.
It is concerning that this paragraph does not specify on what grounds President can make this decision. This contradicts principle of legal certainty according to which it must be clear when and according what grounds the law operates. Otherwise, there is a danger of its arbitrary usage.
Considering that the “prison mutiny” case has raised high public interest, it is essential to clearly determine the grounds based on which the pardon decision has been made. These grounds must be clearly determined by the law to avoid its arbitrary usage.
Human Rights Center considers that President should not have individual authority to make pardon decision without the reccommendation of Pardon Commission. Having served 1/3 of the sentence and request to be pardoned should be essential grounds for pardoning.