Georgia - annual report 2019

Conference on state liability law. On the stage: Judge Mzia Todua (centre), temporary Chair of the Supreme Court
Conference on state liability law. On the stage: Judge Mzia Todua (centre), temporary Chair of the Supreme Court

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Convergence with EU law and standards as well as integration into NATO remained Georgia‘s declared goals in 2019. A large number of reforms have already been implemented as part of the Association Agreement concluded between the EU and Georgia, and the determination for reform on the domestic political front continues to further exist. But very little of what has been achieved so far is actually noticeable for the population.

Moreover, the country‘s improved overall economic situation has little effect on the economic situation of its citizens. This is further exacerbated by the deterioration in both the domestic and foreign policy situation, which has contributed to growing dissatisfaction among the people of Georgia. The tense relationship with Russia in particular precipitated a further aggravation of the domestic political situation and led to larger demonstrations, resulting in controversial responses by the security forces. The governing party “Georgian Dream“ relented and promised to introduce proportional representation for the next parliamentary elections in autumn 2020 – one of the opposition‘s key demands. Prime Minister Mamuka Bachtadze also resigned and was succeeded in office by the former Interior Minister Georgi Gacharia. However, the constitutional reform necessary for electoral reform was not supported by the ruling party in parliament, so that the three-quarters majority required to adopt the plans was not achieved, which in turn led to a resumption of public protests. It remains to be seen whether this situation will lead to early elections.

In regard to judicial policies and due to its particular importance to the judiciary as a whole, it is worth mentioning that the Chair of the Supreme Court and the Chair of the Supreme Judicial Council, is still vacant since August 2018. An appointment is expected in the first half of 2020.

Overall Concept

IRZ continues to focus its efforts in Georgia on the provision of professional legal support and implementation of the reform projects in criminal law. In this, IRZ cooperates with the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, as well as with relevant actors within the judiciary, primarily the Supreme Court and other courts, the General Public Prosecutor‘s Office in Georgia and the Georgian Bar. In addition, cooperation also includes targeted professional exchange between the members of these partner institutions and their German colleagues to discuss legal issues and developments from a comparative perspective. Collaborations with the Tbilisi State University and with law faculties of other universities, as well as with the Penitentiary and Probation Training Center (PPTC), are also important elements of the project work.

Another IRZ priority in 2019 was a comprehensive project on media law, which was funded by the Federal Foreign Office. The focus was on professional exchange between the judiciary, politics, academia, media and students.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • National moot court on constitutional law for Georgian law students in Batumi
  • Release of the publication “Prohibition of discrimination in national case-law“ by the Supreme Court of Georgia

Civil and Commercial Law

  • German-Georgian lawyers‘ forum on civil and commercial law issues in cooperation with the German Federal Bar

Public Law

  • Seminar in cooperation with the analytical department of the Georgian Ministry of Justice on corruption prevention and corruption risk assessment
  • Mentor training as part of the project to develop a mentor system for the Georgian Parliamentary Training Center (PTC)
  • Workshop for the final proofreading and editing of the case collection on expert opinion techniques in administrative law
  • Kick-off conference “The new challenges facing media“
  • Autumn Academy in media Law
  • Five seminars on social media law, data protection law, media and ethics, media and politics
  • Seminar for judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia on state liability law
  • Closing conference on the topic “Limits to freedom of expression“

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Working visit by members of the Georgian Parliament and high-ranking representatives of the Constitutional Court of Georgia on “Legal bases, practical application and control of covert investigation measures, in particular telecommunications surveillance measures“
  • Conference at the Supreme Court of Georgia on “Adversarial and inquisitory procedural models: a comparative law analysis“
  • Conference in cooperation with the Ivane-Javachishvili State University of Tbilisi on medical criminal law
  • Online publication “German-Georgian Criminal Law Journal“ (www.dgstz.de): Publication of scientific articles, conference reports and case-law
  • Advice on the development of a strategy paper on mental health programmes in the penitentiary system
  • In cooperation with GIZ in Georgia: Publication of the South Caucasus Law Journal, Vol. 9/2018/2019 (topic: Juvenile criminal law)

Basic and Further Training

  • Participation of three law students of the “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Participation of two judges in the International Conference of the Memorandum Group of several national associations of judges in Bonn
  • Provision of German legal literature and commentaries to the Committee on Legal Affairs in the Georgian Parliament

Project funded by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Independence, Accountability and Efficiency of the Judiciary in Georgia

IRZ has been a partner in this 41-month, EU-funded project in Georgia since October 2016. IRZ is supporting the Supreme Court, the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), the Constitutional Court and various other courts in increasing the independence, efficiency and impartiality of the Georgian judiciary.

The “4th Wave“ judicial reform was finally pushed through after protracted discussions and debates. It seeks to resolve problems relating to the excessive length of proceedings and the punishing court workload. The judicial reform also includes changes to the mandate of the HCoJ, an independent body responsible for the selection and appointment of judges, and the High School of Justice. There was consensus on most issues among representatives of the judiciary, parliament, the Ministry of Justice, international organisations and the NGO coalition.

In 2019, the project managers organised another training session, a summer school for Georgian judicial staff under the auspices of the Supreme Court of Georgia, the HCoJ and the High School of Justice. The purpose of this measure was to institutionalise ongoing coordination and communication between judges and judicial staff and the individual, competent persons or bodies. Judges discussed problematic legal issues with judicial staff within this framework. In addition, the project also featured events with the alumni network of the summer schools. This improved the quality of coordination and complementarity between the legal training of judges on the one hand and judicial staff, law students, lawyers and public prosecutors on the other.

A timely start of project extension analysis is recommended in order to ensure a smooth continuation of support to the Georgian judicial sector.

Outlook

The positive and established cooperation with the partner institutions will be continued and deepened if possible in 2020. Among other things, this concerns cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, which could be more in the focus of activities in the future. Moreover, IRZ is considering closer cooperation with the High School of Justice in order to promote the sustainable training of judges. The same applies to collaboration with the law faculties in Georgia, with which IRZ could develop and introduce a basic and further training programme on working methodology and case solving techniques in criminal, civil and public law as a means of improving the education of law students and young professionals. Overall, IRZ plans to continue expanding its advisory services in Georgia beyond the field of criminal law.

Georgia - annual report 2018

Legal colloquium with the participation of Dr Frank Engelmann, lawyer, Dr Anja Teschner, Vice President of the Regional Court of Berlin, David Asatiani, President of the Georgian Bar, Teresa Thalhammer, IRZ, and Lasha Kalandadze, lawyer (from left to right)
Legal colloquium with the participation of Dr Frank Engelmann, lawyer, Dr Anja Teschner, Vice President of the Regional Court of Berlin, David Asatiani, President of the Georgian Bar, Teresa Thalhammer, IRZ, and Lasha Kalandadze, lawyer (from left to right)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Georgia continues to pursue its path of European integration and is already engaged in implementation of the Association Agenda that was defined within the framework of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the EU. Papers on necessary legislative amendments have already been developed or legal reforms initiated in numerous areas such as public procurements, customs and trade, intellectual property rights or company law as a means of harmonisation with EU law. Nevertheless, this progress and the effects of the flourishing tourism sector remain largely unnoticeable in the economic situation of large sections within society.

It follows, therefore, that the domestic situation in Georgia during the reporting year was marked by turbulence. Among other things, the General Public Prosecutor resigned from office in response to a controversial case within the criminal justice system that had triggered widespread outrage in civil society. Facing sustained protest and embroiled in dispute within his own party, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili from the ruling “Georgian Dream” Alliance ultimately stepped down as well. He was succeeded by the former Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, who carried out a cabinet reshuffle and reduced the number of departments, but otherwise has not initiated any major reform steps. Popular dissatisfaction with the government continued to grow, and the political rifts within the country again became apparent during the presidential elections of October 2018. Although a sweeping constitutional reform had removed any real powers from the political office, the election campaign was acrimonious and in places featured dubious assistance from administrative authorities. Salome Zourabichvili, who is associated with the ruling party, eventually emerged victorious from the run-off at the end of November.

The constitutional reform that had been passed in March entered into force with the presidential inauguration. This reform completes the country‘s transition to a parliamentary system of government. One of the important reforms referred to the appointment of the Chair of the Supreme Court, which until then had been the responsibility of the State President, but from now on will fall within the remit of the High Council of Justice. The position had been vacant since the former chairman, Prof. Nino Gvenetadze, resigned in August 2018. In view of the upcoming constitutional reforms, a conscious decision had been made for the next incumbent not to be chosen by the President so as to avoid creating ‘facts on the ground‘. Among the reasons why this position is so important to the Georgian judiciary is that the chair of the court also holds the Chair of the High Council of Justice, the self-governing body within the judiciary.

Overall Concept

The IRZ continues to focus its efforts in Georgia on the provision of technical support and implementation of the reform projects in criminal law. For legislation projects, this takes place in cooperation with the Parliamentary Legal Issues Committee, as well as with relevant stakeholders within the judiciary, so primarily the Supreme Court and other courts, the General Public Prosecutor‘s Office in Georgia and the Georgian Bar.

Moreover, cooperation also includes meaningful exchange of information between the members of these partner institutions and their German colleagues to discuss legal issues and developments from a comparative perspective. Collaborations with the Tbilisi State University and the law faculties at other universities, as well as with the Penitentiary and Probation Training Center (PPTC), are therefore important elements in the project work.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • National moot court on constitutional law for Georgian law students in Batumi
  • Publication on anti-discrimination law

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Legal colloquium in cooperation with the German Federal Bar on judgement by default, the burden of proof and other issues of civil procedural law in Tbilisi

Public Law

  • "@mediasocieties Georgia 2018“: introduction to European media law for stakeholders in the Georgian media sector (funded by the Federal Foreign Office)

Administration of Justice

  • Working visit to Düsseldorf by a delegation from the Tbilisi City Court (court administration) to learn about the planning of court buildings
  • Train the trainer for educators at the Georgian Penitentiary and Probation Training Center (PPTC)
  • Legislative advice for the Legal Issues Committee in the Georgian parliament on various planned reforms of the country‘s Code of Criminal Procedure
  • Participation in expert talks by the German section of the International Commission of Jurists during a study trip to Georgia

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference on the topic of domestic violence (implementation of the Istanbul Convention) in cooperation with the Tbilisi State University
  • Two practical training courses on European standards in investigation methods and pre-trial detention
  • Further training for public prosecutors in Tbilisi on policy to combat and investigate corruption
  • Courses on the methodical drafting of criminal judgements in courts of first instance in cooperation with the High School of Justice / continued development of the manual (of forms) for judges and public prosecutors
  • Conference in Tbilisi on the planned reform of criminal law on narcotics
  • Online publication “German-Georgian Criminal Law Journal“

Projects funded by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Independence, Accountability and Efficiency of the Judiciary in Georgia

The IRZ has been a partner in this EU-funded project in Georgia since October 2016. During the 41-month term, a consortium led by Human Dynamics (HD) is supporting the Supreme Court, the High Council of Justice, the High School of Justice, the Constitutional Court and other courts in increasing the independence, efficiency and impartiality of the Georgian judiciary.

The IRZ contributes to the project in the areas of European standards for the protection of human rights by dispatching short-term experts, but especially through its Georgian long-term expert, Lali Ckhetia. The aim is to raise awareness for the significance of the European Convention on Human Rights among Georgian judges and to ensure that they consider case-law by the European Court of Human Rights in their decisions. Access to the important ECHR judgements was facilitated for this purpose, and they are now available in a database, some of them with a Georgian translation. There were also seminars for judges in order to train methods of referencing judgements by the ECHR.

In addition, numerous activities during the reporting year were targeted at legal staff at the courts (assistants to the judges and members of the academic service), as their competencies are highly relevant to the quality of case-law and this aspect has been given insufficient consideration in the past.

Another important reform in 2018 was the introduction of an IT system for the allocation of cases at court, similar to the case allocation at a German court. Underlying the introduction of this case allocation system is the intention to prevent the exertion of any influence in the assignment of cases to individual judges and hence to strengthen the independence of the judiciary in Georgia. The system was introduced nationwide on 31 December 2017 and has largely been received as positive and sensible. Nevertheless, it is still dogged by too many technical problems, which necessitate further evaluation and improvements.

EU Technical Assistance Project: Facility for the Implementation of the Association Agreement in Georgia

The IRZ implemented this EU project in Georgia – which is equipped with a budget of €2 million – under the leadership of the Belgian partner IBF from July 2015 onward. It came to an end officially in December 2018.

Within the project, the main beneficiary partner, the Georgian Governmental Commission for EU Integration, received assistance in the implementation of the EU’s bilateral agreements with Georgia (Association Agreement, Free Trade Agreement, Visa Liberalisation Agreement and the Association Agenda). Another objective of the project was to introduce institutional reforms that are necessary for implementation of the bilateral agreements. In addition, the project supported the continued development and realisation of the communications and information strategy by the Georgian government in connection with the bilateral agreements with the EU.

  • Overall, ten different training activities, workshops or other events were carried out within the framework of Component 1, including measures to combat fraud, as well as in the areas of culture, disaster management, public relations and presentation, instruments of external assistance and Georgia‘s foreign policies.
  • Project Component 2 featured a number of training courses on practical implementation of the Legal Assessment Manual and the guidelines for Georgia, with the objective of consolidating knowledge on the process of legal harmonisation through sector-specific activities designed to consolidate capacities.
  • A nationwide information campaign was carried out as part of the activities within Component 3 (implementation of the EU and Georgian communications and information strategy). Moreover, the project was involved in drafting the action plan for the Communications Strategy 2018 concerning Georgia‘s membership in the EU and NATO for 2017 to 2020.

EU Technical Assistance Project: Legislative Impact Assessment, Drafting and Representation

The EU project, which started in April 2015, was brought to a successful conclusion in August 2018. In addition to the IRZ, CILC from the Netherlands was involved as a junior partner in the international consortium under the leadership of IBF from Belgium. The project term was forty months and the budget amounted to approx. €2 million.

The main beneficiary was the Georgian Ministry of Justice, with participation by other state institutions in Georgia. The project was divided into the following three components:

  • strengthening of capacities among relevant state stakeholders in the decision-making processes and legislation, with a particular prioritisation of the Georgian Ministry of Justice;
  • support for the Ministry of Justice in its representative function toward international courts and organisations;
  • strengthening and ongoing development of the Centre for the Translation of Georgian Laws into English, i.e. of EU acts of law with relevance to Georgia into the Georgian language.

More than one hundred activities were carried out within the project components. They included numerous training courses for members of parliament, government representatives and employees of the Ministry of Justice.

In addition to the preparation of guidelines and a manual on harmonising legislation with the EU Acquis, the project also included the development of extensive methods and concepts for regulatory impact assessment, as well as guidelines to improve government capacities in the legislative and decision-making processes.

Large-scale training courses and train the trainer courses were also held within the project to promote harmonisation of legislation and draft legislation; moreover, strategy papers were prepared on a variety of issues as a means of providing insight and recommendations for the basic outlines of future reforms.

In order to guarantee the sustainability of project outcomes, it would be desirable that the government continue its current efforts and that trainers, who specialised within the framework of this project, will act as multipliers.

Outlook

A number of important projects like the preparation of a manual of forms for the judiciary and Public Prosecutor‘s Office should continue and be brought to a positive conclusion. A strengthening of the proven cooperation with the Bar is also under consideration. For instance, this might enable the inclusion of courses by German lawyers as an integral part of legal training, for which the Georgian Bar is responsible and which is currently undergoing fundamental reform.

A large number of activities are also scheduled within the EU project on judiciary reform. For instance, the High Council of Justice will receive stronger support in implementing the judicial reform strategy; this will also involve communicating the content and significance of this strategy to the judiciary at national level. Moreover, a new fundament will be established for the recruitment and management of judiciary staff through the introduction of uniform, clear standards and guidelines.

 

Georgia - annual report 2017

Expert talk on the revision of Art. 136 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia with the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia: Prof. Dr. Nino Gvenetadze, President of the Supreme Court of Georgia; Eka Beselia, Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee; Dr. Wolfgang Bär, judge at the Federal Supreme Court (presidium from left to right)
Expert talk on the revision of Art. 136 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia with the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia: Prof. Dr. Nino Gvenetadze, President of the Supreme Court of Georgia; Eka Beselia, Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee; Dr. Wolfgang Bär, judge at the Federal Supreme Court (presidium from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

Georgia is part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership and remains on a course of democratisation and economic modernisation. The country aims to integrate into the European and transatlantic community. The EU Parliament, the European Commission and other international players praise Georgia for its continued positive development and intend to work together even more closely. Following the signing of the EU Association Agreement, the EU Parliament gave the go-ahead to the lifting of visa requirements for Georgian nationals in March 2017 who have since been allowed to enter the EU without a visa.

On 21 October 2017, regional elections were held in Georgia, which were won by the “Georgian Dream” governing coalition. Nevertheless, the constitutional reform initiated by the government in the year under review is meeting with some controversy in the country, especially with regard to the revision of the electoral law or the abolition of the direct election of the President of the Republic. The constitutional reform process has not yet been concluded, but the new constitution is still due to enter into force in 2018.

Overall concept

The main focus of the IRZ’s consultations in Georgia is on criminal law issues. In the year under review, support was given to the Supreme Court, the Georgian Bar Association and the lawyer’s association, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Georgian Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, the Penitentiary and Probation Training Center (PPTC) and the State University of Tbilisi. The cooperation consists of accompanying legal reforms, supporting legal practitioners by providing further training and strengthening the professional bodies.

The IRZ is in close contact with the Georgian Ministry of Justice in order to support legislative steps to align national law closer to EU standards.

In addition, the IRZ was also involved in the implementation of three EU projects during the year under review (see below).

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Three further training sessions for Georgian lawyers on the application of the ECHR and European law in Tbilisi

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Lecture and discussion event on the topic of “Mediation in Germany and Georgia” in cooperation with the Georgian Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association (BRAK) in Tbilisi
  • Working visit of a delegation of the Georgian Bar Association to Berlin on the subject of “Arbitrage/Mediation”
  • Round Table on civil procedural issues in commercial and corporate law disputes in cooperation with the Georgian Advocates Association in Tbilisi

Administration of Justice

  • Conference of the Memorandum Group of Judges’ Associations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine in Tbilisi

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Expert talks of the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Prof. Dr. Nino Gvenetadze, at the Higher Regional Court of Bremen and Bremen Regional Court as well as participation in a panel discussion at the initiative of the Bremen Legal Society
  • Conference on criminal law sanctions and sentencing in Tbilisi
  • Expert discussion on the amendment of Art. 136 of the Georgian Criminal Procedure Act (request for computer data) at the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi
  • Drafting of a manual (of forms) for the criminal proceedings for the judges in cooperation with the High Council of Justice of Georgia
  • Training on European standards in the framework of investigations and pre-trial detention for the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office
  • Continuation of the deliberations of the Supreme Court of Georgia and the High Council of Justice on electronic case allocation
  • Training series for prison staff dealing with special groups of prisoners (women, minors, etc.)
  • Online specialist publication “German-Georgian Criminal Law Journal” (www.dgstz.de) for the publication of academic articles, conference reports and case law. This publication serves the purpose of comparative law and better networking between German and Georgian academics in all areas of criminal law and is intended to provide an overview of all German-Georgian projects in this context.

Basic and Further Training

  • Participation of two Georgian law students in the IRZ “German Law summer school” in Bonn, Germany
  • National Moot Court in constitutional law for Georgian law students in Batumi

Projects financed by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Legislative Impact Assessment, Drafting and Representation

This project has been carried out since April 2015 in an international consortium led by the Belgian company IBF with a budget of almost 2 million euros. It was scheduled to have ended in October 2017 but was extended until April 2018 to complete some important activities. The main beneficiary is the Georgian Ministry of Justice.

In terms of content, the project is divided into three components with different objectives: to improve legislative processes, to make the Ministry of Justice more familiar with international law, human rights and arbitration and to promote the development of a Centre for the Translation of Georgian legal texts into English.

An important result of the project is a handbook and guidelines on the systematic harmonisation of legislation with EU law, which the IRZ expert had developed, and which will become a binding instrument in the legislative process of Georgia in the future. This instrument was introduced to government representatives at a conference in Tbilisi in June 2017. Its application at the technical level is already being accompanied by appropriate training courses.

A needs-oriented training concept on legislative techniques and political decision-making has also been developed, which is being applied in training courses for civil servants, members of parliament and government representatives. The focus is on the area of legal impact assessment as a central component of qualitative legislation, which is why additional trainers and mentors were trained for this purpose. Other activities included the training of civil servants on the representation of Georgia at international organisations and courts, as well as training on specific issues of private international law, which are often relevant to civil servants

EU Technical Assistance Project: Facility for the Implementation of the Association Agreement in Georgia

Together with the Belgian partner IBF, the IRZ will carry out this project with a budget of 2 million euros up to May 2018. The main beneficiary partner, the Georgian Governmental Commission for EU Integration, will be assisted in the implementation of the EU’s bilateral agreements with Georgia (Association Agreement, Free Trade Agreement, Visa Liberalisation Agreement and the Association Agenda, all grouped under the term “Association Agreement”).

The year 2017 included a large number of measures that can only be listed by way of example. On the one hand, the project team established guidelines for the coordination, planning and monitoring of government programmes. In addition, policy papers have been drawn up to assist the Georgian authorities in the proper planning, in particular the timely implementation of the Association Agreement. A roadmap of measures to set up an anti-fraud system was also discussed. Furthermore, EU external assistance remained an intensive project component: work on establishing the joint monitoring and evaluation system in Georgia was completed and the monitoring and evaluation guidelines for EU-funded programmes/projects were developed and coordinated with the beneficiary. Information on possible participation in EU projects, the availability of EU funds and the criteria for their allocation were explained to the project partner.

In the area of the Free Trade Agreement, activities have been offered to align legislation, to introduce reform measures to remove technical barriers to trade (TBT) and to promote trade facilitation. At the consultative meetings, attention was paid to the fact that private companies were also included in order to make planned legislative measures transparent.

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Independence, Accountability and Efficiency of the Judiciary in Georgia

Since October 2016, the IRZ has been a partner in another EU-funded contract in Georgia. During the 32-month contract period, the consortium, led by the consulting company Human Dynamics (HD), is supporting the Supreme Court, the High Judicial Council, the High School of Justice, the Constitutional Court and various courts in increasing the independence, efficiency and impartiality of Georgian judiciary. In terms of content, the project partly follows on from the project “Support to the Reform of the Criminal Justice System in Georgia” (2012-2015), which was also completed successfully by the IRZ and HD.

The IRZ is involved intensively in the project through the assignment of short-term experts, but above all through its Georgian long-term expert with a focus on European human rights standards. This expert has already conducted various seminars and workshops for judges and other court staff. In terms of content, the issues discussed included cases of importance for Georgia under the ECHR as well as EU law. However, practical assistance was also offered for day-to-day legal research and the optimisation of legal terminology for the writing of judgments. The work of the IRZ expert – together with the Human Rights Department within the Supreme Court – has made considerable progress in developing a database containing important ECHR rulings. Some of these were also translated into the Georgian language. This is how the understanding of the importance of the ECHR in Georgia is to be further augmented and, at the same time, the ability to apply these standards in a competent manner is to be increased.

Together with the High Council of Justice, the project also developed a comprehensive strategy for judicial reform from 2017 to 2022 as well as an action plan for its implementation for 2017 and 2018, including seminars to enhance the efficiency of the judiciary, joint events for the judiciary and the legal profession, and workshops on public finance management.

Outlook

For the year 2018, the IRZ plans to continue bilateral cooperation with all previous Georgian partner institutions. Discussions will continue, above all, in the field of criminal and procedural law. In particular, there are plans to intensify the support of the judges in the form of cooperation with the Georgian Supreme Court and the Tbilisi Appellate Court.

Cooperation with the Georgian advocacy should also be continued because of their key role as a significant link between citizenship and the state. Following the elections to the board of directors within the Georgian Bar Association in December 2017, the IRZ will also work closely with their future representatives and continue to involve the Federal German Bar Association. The hands-on, professional exchange with German colleagues remains of great importance for the Georgian side. At the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the seminar on undercover investigations and pre-trial detention, the high practical value of which was emphasised by all parties involved, is to be repeated for further groups of participants. A project on media law, a subject of particular relevance especially to Georgia, is also being considered.

Two of the three EU-funded projects in Georgia will be completed by the beginning of 2018. In 2018, the third EU project for the judiciary will include a number of activities to implement the above-mentioned Judicial Strategy Action Plan, in which the IRZ will participate. For instance, training courses for the newly elected members of the High Council of Justice should be mentioned here by way of example, which are held to provide them with detailed information on the concrete objectives and content of the strategy paper and action plan. The project team will also work with the High Council of Justice to develop an evaluation system for the implementation of the action plan.