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Georgia criticises EU and Ukraine over wanted former UNM officials

12 March 2024
Zurab Adeishvili (left) and Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin in the German Parliament. Image via X.

Georgia has requested that Germany and the EU detain and extradite Zurab Adeishvili, a wanted former United National Movement (UNM) official, after he took part in an official visit to Brussels and Berlin as part of a Ukrainian delegation.

Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office submitted its request for Adeishvili’s extradition on Monday.

Adeishvili is wanted in Georgia on charges of abuse of power and the humiliation and inhumane treatment of prisoners while serving as Prosecutor General and then Justice Minister between 2004 and 2012.

Adeishvili was in 2019 also found guilty of seeking to bankrupt Cartu Bank, a bank owned by the founder of the currently ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and sentenced in absentia. 

Nika Melia, the former chair of the UNM and the co-chair of the newly established Ahali party was found guilty of the same charges and fined. 

Adeishvili is currently serving as an adviser to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin. He stirred controversy in Georgia after taking part in meetings with German MPs and Gert Jan Koopman,  the Director General of the European Commission for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, as part of a Ukrainian delegation led by Kostin on 6 March.

Several senior members of the ruling Georgian Dream party have called on the EU to detain and extradite the former UNM official, with Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze stating on Monday that Adeishvili’s participation in the meetings was an ‘attack on European values, including the principle of the rule of law’.


Georgia raised a warrant for Adeishvili’s arrest through Interpol in 2013, but the organisation dropped the warrant after he applied for political asylum in an unspecified EU country.

Georgia’s Parliamentary Speaker Shalva Papuashvili also commented on Adeishvili’s visit on Monday, stating that the EU ‘should not become a space where Georgian criminals hide’.

The ruling party has also called on Ukraine to extradite another former UNM official, Giorgi Lortkipanidze, who served as a deputy Interior Minister during the party’s rule. 

Lorkapanidze is the deputy head of Ukraine’s Counterintelligence Department. He is currently on trial in absentia on charges of exceeding his official authority in the violent dispersal of protesters in Tbilisi in May 2011. He also stands accused of helping the currently imprisoned former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, in ‘illegally crossing the border’.

On Monday, the Georgian Government stated that it found Ukraine’s appointment of Adeishvili and Lortkipanidze to official positions to be ‘disturbing’ and called on Kyiv to extradite them.

‘We remind you that [they] led the authoritarian regime of the previous government of Georgia, which destroyed many people’s lives, health, and well-being’, read the government’s statement.

Brussels and Tbilisi trade blows

Tbilisi’s reaction to Adeishvili’s participation in meetings as part of a Ukrainian delegation was largely dismissed by Germany and the EU.

On Thursday, the German Embassy in Georgia told RFE/RL that Adeishvili had visited the German Parliament as a member of the Ukrainian Ambassador’s delegation.

‘There was no reason based on the principles of the rule of law to ban him from entering the parliament’, they stated.

The following day, the EU Delegation in Georgia responded to media reports about Adeishvili’s attendance at the meeting with Koopman by stressing that the EU official was meeting specifically with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General.

‘His meeting last Tuesday was with the Prosecutor General of Ukraine who was accompanied by a number of people as part of the Ukrainian delegation’, they stated. ‘Portraying this meeting in another way is disinformation (and the correct information can easily be verified on EU social media)’.

‘Fighting disinformation against the EU is step one out of the nine steps towards opening EU accession negotiations’, concluded the delegation’s statement.

On Monday, the Georgian Government stated that Brussels and Berlin permitting Adeishvili to attend the meetings ‘undermines the perception that the European bureaucracy is committed to the idea of a legal state’.

‘Therefore, this event directly contradicts the spirit of the first priority out of the nine priorities set by the European Union for Georgia, which involves preventing the strengthening of anti-European sentiment in Georgia’, read the government’s statement.

Some members of the Georgian opposition criticised the government’s handling of the matter, with MP Khatia Dekanoidze, an MP from the Eurooptimists party, calling the government’s approach ‘embarrassing’.

‘I don’t think that, in reality, the government of Georgia is in a position to speak to our partners in the language of such ultimatums, according to the rule of law standard’, she said.

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