Kiev refuses to extradite Saakashvili to Tbilisi
Extradition of the former president of Georgia, a citizen of Ukraine Mikhail Saakashvili, to his homeland "is impossible today," the Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevgeny Yenin said in Tbilisi.
He recalled that Saakashvili is currently a citizen of Ukraine, "his extradition to Georgia is impossible in accordance with the Constitution of this country." "But we have absolute contact with our Georgian colleagues, there is good and intensive cooperation between us," Yenin said.
The deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine also did not give an unambiguous answer to the question of whether this topic will be touched during the forthcoming visit of Petro Poroshenko to Tbilisi in July. "I do not know whether this issue will be considered, since I am not aware of the agenda of the president's visit," TASS cited him as saying. "But we are ready to answer the questions of our Georgian colleagues," Yenin assured.
Saakashvili obtained Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015. In December 2015, the Georgian president signed a decree removing Saakashvili's citizenship on the grounds that he became a Ukrainian national. Earlier, the main prosecutor's office of Georgia appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine with a request for extradition of the ex-head of state, but was refused.
The head of the Center for Global Studies, Nana Devdariani, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that at the moment there is no legal basis for Mikhail Saakashvili's extradition to Georgia as a citizen of Ukraine. "The Constitution of Ukraine unambiguously guarantees that the state does not extradite its citizens. And both Kiev and Tbilisi know that, according to the Constitution, Saakashvili will not be extradited to Georgia. In addition, he is charged with not the most serious crimes, such as waste of budgetary funds, while there are much more serious misconduct behind him," she stressed.
The political scientist added that the fate of Mikhail Saakashvili is now completely in the hands of the United States. "We know very well how the US usually deals with its proteges: while they do not go against American interests, they are protected. And Saakashvili has not spoken against the US," Nana Devdariani said.
"The Georgian Dream party has so far left untouched many very high-ranking officials from Saakashvili's circle. Voters dislike Saakashvili, so this topic is raised periodically, but there is no such a deep interest in the fate of the former president anymore," the head of the Center for Global Studies concluded.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, drew attention to the fact that in order to extradite Saakashvili to Tbilisi, it is first necessary to deprive him of his citizenship. "It could be done by President Petro Poroshenko - but when he appointed him the governor of the Odessa region, despite the official appeal of the Georgian government, despite the fact that all the documents were submitted, that Saakashvili was wanted, it became clear that there will be no extradition," he noted.
The political scientist stressed that that is why Saakashvili is behaving so loudly in Ukraine - because he understands that he will not be touched. "That's why he screams that he will defeat Poroshenko and oligarchs in Ukraine and Georgia, he knows that the deprivation of his citizenship would be an act of political struggle against this background. But while Saakashvili is a citizen of Ukraine, Tbilisi has no right to seek his extradition, because the Ukrainian Constitution does not allow extraditing citizens to other countries. Moreover, Saakashvili does not have Georgian citizenship," Petre Mamradze recalled.
The expert expressed confidence that Mikhail Saakashvili has already lost support in the West. "Contacts with him have been preserved, but nobody needs him any more, so the present fate of Saakashvili is completely in his own hands. Our former president can no longer live without PR, so any mention of his name for him is like a breath of air. He is in safety in political terms, so the only question is how much health he has for such a lifestyle," the head of the Institute of Management Strategy said.
As for the internal Georgian agenda, the ruling forces have already lost interest in the topic of justice for Saakashvili. "Moreover, no political will was shown by the Georgian Dream from the very beginning to ensure that the rule of law was secured. It could be done in the first months, while he was president, but they turned a blind eye to it then," Petre Mamradze concluded.