- Published: May 5, 2014
Legal policy starting pointGeorgia is continuously following a course of approximation to the EU, and is striving to keep to a course of political and economic reform. A major success on this path was the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU in June 2014. Its implementation poses a major challenge for the Georgian Government, which it is facing with a considerable willingness to reform, and that despite a certain amount of domestic policy turbulence carrying on into 2014. Topics on the reform agenda include: independence of the judiciary, modernisation of the legal administrative bodies, the fight against organised crime and protection of human rights.
Georgia’s clearly European orientation however proves potentially problematic when it comes to its relations with Russia. Major scepticism was expressed in the country on learning that Russia had concluded a “Treaty on Alliance and Strategic Partnership” with the breakaway province of Abkhazia in November 2014. This treaty, which ties Abkhazia even closer to Russia than before in military, political and economic terms, is a significant stumbling-block on the unresolved conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia, as well as for the already fragile relations between Georgia and Russia.
The IRZ has been working since 2006 with governmental and nongovernmental institutions in the country on the basis of a joint agreement between the Georgian and German Ministries of Justice. In order to update this agreement, in December 2014 Federal Minister Heiko Maas and his Georgian counterpart Tea Tsulukiani signed a letter of intent for further activities until 2017 to strengthen the Georgian judiciary. The objectives are to bring about greater stability and promote both the rule of law and respect for human rights.
A further important area of work concerns cooperation with professional associations, particularly the Georgian Bar Association. An exchange of information has been taking place for many years with the Federal Bar (BRAK), with support from the IRZ, and this has shown a gratifyingly dynamic development in 2014, with specialist discussions taking place at the BRAK in Berlin and a conference for lawyers being held in Tbilisi.
The third major topic is improving judicial education. Against the background of the particular proximity of the Georgian legal system to German legal tradition and the large number of young lawyers with experience of studying or working in Germany, there is a considerable amount of interest in the German case-orientated teaching and work methodology. This is imparted within a variety of projects. Georgia was also once more a major meeting point in 2014 in the context of regional and international IRZ events.
Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability
- International constitutional conference in Batumi on the protection of privacy for Presidents of Constitutional Courts and constitutional court judges from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Turkey
- Seminar in Tbilisi on the ECHR for staff from the Ministry of Justice and the public prosecution office together with the Ministry of Justice Two seminars in Tbilisi for Georgian attorneys on the enforcement of the ECHR
- Support for the international conference in Tbilisi entitled “Transitional justice and protection of human rights” Bilateral constitutional seminar for students of the Humboldt University in Berlin and Tbilisi State University with activities in Tbilisi, Batumi and Berlin
Civil and commercial law
- Conference in Tbilisi on German law within the “Law – made in Germany“ initiative, together with BRAK and the Georgian Bar Association
Administration of justice
- Visit to Germany by the Minister of Justice of Georgia and a delegation from the Ministry for talks at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Bundestag, Berlin Higher Regional Court, the German Association of Judges and others
- Signing of the letter of intent on the implementation of an action plan between the Ministries of Justice
- Visit to Berlin by a delegation of the Georgian Bar Association for talks at the BRAK and other institutions
Criminal law and the law on the prison system
- Support to the Reform of Criminal Justice System in Georgia (EU service contract)
- Seminar in Tbilisi entitled “Cybercrime, cross-border crime, corporate liability” for public prosecutors
- Closing of the project to introduce a mentoring system in the Georgian prison system: final training for Georgian mentors and final conference to present the mentoring system to a specialist public in Tbilisi
- Consultation to improve the decision-making technique in criminal proceedings in cooperation with the Supreme Court of Georgia Advice to the Ministry of Corrections on individual matters of the penitentiary system
- Financing of the manual entitled “Criminal Procedure Law, General Part”
Basic and further training
- Training course for trainers in Kvareli on the application of legal teaching methodology for universities
- National Moot Court in Batumi on constitutional law for Georgian law students Attendance by a Georgian law student at the IRZ German law summer school in Brühl
The IRZ will focus in 2015 on the implementation of the action plan between the two Ministries of Justice. Here, the IRZ will support the directorate-general for European law at the Georgian Ministry of Justice in the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the EU. Added to this is consultation and further training on the implementation of the newly-introduced Juvenile Justice Code, as well as specialist discussions on the reform of the Georgian law on administrative offences.
Additionally, the long-term projects with the IRZ’s central partners are to be continued: Support for the Georgian Bar Association, as well as cooperation with the Penitentiary and Probation Training Centre, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General, the Constitutional Court, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and the Law School of Tbilisi State University (TSU). What is more, a new contact between Tbilisi Court of Appeal and Hamburg Regional Court will be added in February 2015 in order to sound out whether a long-term exchange of experience can be established on criminal law problems in judicial practice.