On 28 and 29 April 2017, an international conference of the “Memorandum Group of Associations of Judges” was held in Tbilisi. The conference was about the coming together of the Associations of Judges of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. The IRZ has welcomed this initiative right from the start and has supported the annual meetings of the Memorandum Group over the years.

This year’s conference focussed on the following topics

  • Mediation,
  • The assessment of judges and
  • Juvenile criminal law.

When it came to discussing mediation, it became clear how important and future-oriented this is considered to be in the partner countries. This was proved by the statements from the participating countries on their respective practical experience and perspectives of mediation as a modern method of resolving conflict. In this context, the participants also shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of judicial mediation.

The fact that the assessment system in the participating countries is handled very differently became clear during numerous talks on the respective legal regulations.

About twenty representatives of the Associations of Judges in the Memorandum Group and several Georgian judges took part in the event. On the German side, the German Association of Judges made a contribution, as it had done in previous conferences of this kind, and was represented by its President, Jens Gnisa, Director of the local court in Bielefeld, and Jörn Müller, a judge at the local court of Worms.

The conference was seen on all sides as an important platform for the exchange of experiences between representatives of the justice system in various countries, which often find themselves dealing with similar reform topics. It was opened by the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Professor Dr. Nino Gvenetadze. As well as Joachim Hecker, who represented the German Embassy in Tbilisi, and the Managing Director of the IRZ, Veronika Keller-Engels, the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, also gave a welcome speech, in which he outlined the most important steps currently being undertaken in Georgia for reforming the justice system.

Straight after the event, the Memorandum Group held an internal meeting to discuss the further development and expansion of the group.