05.01.2018 On January 5, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba addressed the people who have gathered in front of the Administration of the President in connection with the handover of G. Lukava to Georgia.
“I was in Parliament today and spoke before the Committee that was created today. Questions were asked as to why the Decree was signed, why an unequal number of people was exchanged, why it was Lukava who was released and why we made such decisions.
These decisions were made openly. No one concealed them. The first letter that I received from the President of South Ossetia in September 2015 made a request to exchange the citizens of South Ossetia who were kept in Georgian prisons and received 25 years of imprisonment or life sentences.
The Abkhazian state was building relations with the brotherly nation of South Ossetia. As Head of State, I could not have acted differently. This was a political act, and I decided to sign the document to carry out the exchange. Yet, before making this decision, I turned to the Parliament of the previous convocation. This was openly declared, and this question was discussed in Parliament. The Parliament approved of this, even though it had no authority to confirm its approval by any document. Yet, all members of Parliament agreed that this had to be done. We have made this decision, and the process started in March. It was ongoing for almost a year.
We also took back one person who was in Georgia after having committed a crime here. Today some people ask why we needed him.
Yet, when he was still there, we were told that we did not try to ensure that the people who have committed crimes here would bear responsibility under our laws.
I cannot know which decision will be made by the Committee. I have heard people discussing that I had no authority to make such decisions. I can assure you that in the Constitution, I am given the right of pardon. I was asked why I did not submit the documents to the Pardon Committee. This procedure is not stipulated. There is a Decree on the regulations of this Committee. Yet, I repeat again that this was a political act, and there could be no other decision. All our actions are within the law. If someone is not happy with this, if they try to gain political points, then this is harmful to our society. Solving questions in this way would affect our country and our society negatively. I hope that reason is above all, above our personal ambitions and wishes.
If people believe that this norm is not acceptable, then there are possibilities to solve these issues by making changes to the work of executive and legislative branches. These norms can be changed, but it is not done as it is supposed.
This is why I asked you to be vigilant. We should not allow any excesses. I would like you to understand what I am talking about”, - said the President.