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“ ( 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.


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.