- Published: June 1, 2017
Legal Policy Starting Point
Parliamentary elections took place in Georgia on 8 October 2016. The pro-west government party “Georgian Dream” was reconfirmed in office with 50 % of the votes cast. The opposition party “United National Movement” achieved just 26 % of the votes and is the second strongest party in the Georgian Parliament. The new government, which in part represents a continuation of the old government, was constituted in November. The Minister of Justice, Tea Tsulukiani, also remains in office.
Georgia remains on a course of consistent reform and has for several years rightly been considered as one of the most progressive countries within the Eastern Partnership with regard to democratic structures, political stability and pluralism. The country plans to consistently pursue this reform policy. In the field of justice, the government’s aims continue to include the reformation of the legal and the judicial system, compliance with European standards in national law and the strengthening of an independent judiciary.
The IRZ works in Georgia on the basis of a Joint Declaration between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and the Georgian Ministry of Justice. In this context, criminal law and the implementation of international agreements into national law have been defined as the most important topics. Most of the activities currently take place in the criminal law field. In addition to consultation on individual amendment projects for the relevant legislation, most recently on the Code of Criminal Procedure, the IRZ devotes itself to the improvement of case-law in criminal proceedings, investigative activities of the Georgian Public Prosecutor’s Office in conformity with human rights and proper representation by criminal defence lawyers. This aim is served by cooperation with judges at various Georgian courts who are intended to develop a close network with German courts. Similarly, Georgian lawyers are reached through further training and specialist conferences. The Georgian side considers practice-oriented specialist exchanges with German colleagues very important.
Last but not least, the IRZ also promotes the exchange between Georgian and German academics on the further development of criminal law and the further assimilation of Georgian to European standards.
Foci of Activity 2016
Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability
- Three further training events in Tbilisi for Georgian lawyers on the application of the European Convention on Human Rights and European law
- National moot court in Batumi on constitutional law for Georgian law students
Civil and Commercial Law
- Lecture and discussion event in Tbilisi entitled “Immoral business and extortion – statutory regulation and case-law” within the framework of the initiative “Law - Made in Germany” in cooperation with the Georgian Bar and the German Federal Bar
- Specialist conference in Tbilisi for the Georgian Bar on civil procedure issues, including accelerated proceedings and data protection
Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law
- Visit by a delegation of the High Council of Justice of Georgia to the German Federal Supreme Court and the Bremen Higher Regional Court
- Specialist discussions in Tbilisi between the Georgian Supreme Court and the Bremen Higher Regional Court as the start to a possible court partnership
- Specialist discussions between the Hamburg Regional Court and the Appeal Court of Tbilisi on the issues “Importance and difficulties of indirect testimony (hearsay) in criminal procedure law” and “Usability in court of information obtained illegally” in the course of the cooperation of both courts
- Preparation of a (standard form) handbook of criminal procedure for the judiciary in cooperation with the High Council of Justice of Georgia
Study visit to Germany by representatives of the Georgian General Prosecutor’s Office, including the issues of juvenile criminal justice, basic and further training, communication/public relations work and the judgment system
- Roundtable discussions for representatives of the judiciary, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the media on the subject “Investigations against holders of office” in cooperation with the Justice Ministry Training Centre
- Academic conference in Tbilisi on the Europeanisation of Georgian commercial criminal law in cooperation with the University of Georgia
- Project to investigate Georgian criminal justice, in particular decision-making practice, from 2005 to 2016 in cooperation with the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
- 13-day further training course for a total of 50 criminal justice staff on the treatment of prisoners (international standards, hunger strikes, use of compulsion, etc.)
- Online specialist publication “German-Georgian Criminal Law Journal” (www.dgstz.de): publication of academic articles, conference reports and case-law
Basic and Further Training
- Participation by two Georgian law students at the IRZ “German law” summer school in Brühl and Bonn
- Participation by two winners of the Moot Court 2015 at the Bonn International Model United Nations Conference in Germany
- EU Service Contract: Legislative impact assessment, drafting and representation
- EU Service Contract: Facility for the implementation of the Association Agreement in Georgia
In 2017, the projects will mainly follow up on the work to date. For example, the aim is to complete the handbook of criminal procedure for the judiciary mentioned above, a measure designed to improve the quality of first-instance criminal judgments. Closer support for reforms in the correctional system is intended, if possible. This sphere remains subject to significant changes. The competent Ministry of Correction, the Training Centre PPTC belonging to it, and the Probation Agency have requested further support, for example in the sphere of women’s and juvenile prisons. In addition, the continued tenure of the Minister of Justice beyond 2016 offers the opportunity to further develop the existing cooperation with the Ministry.
Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.