"The criminal procedure in Georgia – challenges on its path towards the approximation to the EU" – this was the title of an IRZ conference held in Tbilisi on 22 and 23 October 2015.

The conference was organised in cooperation with the Supreme Court of Georgia. It was attended by representatives of parliament, of the bodies of criminal justice of Georgia, by judges of the Supreme Court as well as by professors of various Georgian universities.

The event was opened by the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Professor Nino Gvenetadze. On the part of the German embassy in Georgia, Joachim Hecker, Head of the Divisions for Business as well as Legal and Consular Affairs, welcomed the participants.

The IRZ has been active for several years in the field of criminal justice in Georgia.

The current Georgian criminal procedure law contains some elements which need to be reformed. The purpose of this conference was to discuss these fields of problems with an expert audience and to drive further reforms. The following topics were discussed:

  • ECHR provisions for criminal proceedings,
  • safeguarding judicial independence,
  • rights of the defence counsel from a Georgian perspective as well as
  • structures of inquisitorial and adversarial criminal proceedings.

On the German part, Ellen Best, Vice-President of the Local Court of Bremen, Holger Pröbstel, Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Erfurt, Professor Ingeborg Zerbes of the University of Bremen and Professor Thomas Weigend of the University of Cologne gave comparative presentations on criminal procedure law.

The presentations of the German and Georgian speakers gave rise to open and lively discussions, which showed that the judiciary still has to struggle with many procedural law regulations. The need for reforms, however, is assessed differently and has led to strong disagreement within the judiciary and the justice system in general. Bearing this in mind, it is doubtful whether adaptations of the code of criminal procedure can be expected in the near future. The IRZ will keep following the discussions about this issue and offer its consultation if required.