Dr. Grundmann in Georgien

Dr. Birgit Grundmann in Tbilisi, June 2013

From 18 to 20 June 2013, the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Dr. Birgit Grundmann, visited Georgia from 18 to 20 June 2013. There she met representatives from politics, the judiciary and civil society, jointly with IRZ representatives.

The State Secretary had meetings with the Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Alexander Baramidze, her Georgian counterpart, with whom she discussed a renewal of the cooperation agreement between the two ministries concluded in 2006. During a meeting with the Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Mr Sozar Subari, Dr. Grundmann obtained an overview of the reforms in the penitentiary system and in particular about the structural and personal reappraisal of the torture scandal which had caused great dismay beyond Georgia's boundaries in the run-up to the Georgian Parliamentary elections in September 2012. This also set the background for the meeting with the Georgian Chief Public Prosecutor, Mr Archil Kbilashvili, whose authority has been engaged in the investigations against members of the Georgian penitentiary system since the end of last year, with support from the IRZ. In a meeting with representatives of the Georgian Parliament, Dr. Grundmann was able to gain an impression of the political climate in Georgia. At the German Embassy she met the Deputy Head of Parliament, Ms Manana Kobakhidze, as well as the Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Mr Vakhtang Khmaladze. Both dialogue partners highlighted the particular importance of upholding human rights in Georgia. Fundamental issues such as the independence of the judiciary, which is currently the subject of heated debates in Georgia, play a great role in this context. Meetings took also place with the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Deputy President of the Georgian Constitutional Court, representatives of the Georgian Chamber of Lawyers, the Bar Association and scientific academia. Since there are still many Georgians who learn German and go to Germany on study and field trips, it was often even possible to exchange opinions without the assistance of an interpreter.

Since the change of government in Georgia in October 2012, a new dynamism has evolved in the Caucasian state towards the implementation of legal reforms and intensifying support in the rule of law. The Georgian Minister of Justice, Ms Tea Tsulukiani, in particular, assumed her office expressing her commitment to fundamental reforms. With her visit, Dr. Grundmann emphasised Germany's interest in these developments and reaffirmed the willingness of the Federal Ministry of Justice, as well as of the IRZ as its implementing organisation, to provide support.