The EU and the Council of Europe supported a conference in Tbilisi to discuss areas for further improvement and the ongoing reform of the legal framework for criminal justice in Georgia

Tbilisi, November 24, 2022 – The protection of the rights of victims and other vulnerable persons, the system of pre-trial measures and the conduct of investigative measures are the areas that should be given special attention during the ongoing criminal justice reform in Georgia, participants stressed the high-level conference “Legal framework for criminal justice: areas for further improvement and ongoing reforms in Georgia”, held today by the European Union and the Council of Europe in Tbilisi.

Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia; Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia; Frédéric Dolt, Head of the Department for the Implementation of Human Rights, Justice and Legal Cooperation Standards, Council of Europe; Anri Okhanashvili, Chairman of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee; Aleksandre Darakhvelidze, Deputy Interior Minister of Georgia; Beqa Dzamashvili, Deputy Minister of Justice; Shalva Tadumadze, Deputy Chairwoman of the Supreme Court of Georgia; Bakur Abuladze, First Deputy Attorney General of Georgia, and Davit Asatiani, Chairman of the Bar Association of Georgia delivered opening speeches at the event.

The event participants Discussed legal and practical issues that need to be addressed for further improvement of the legal framework for criminal justice, including outstanding issues that require effective action by the authorities related to the enforcement of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

International consultants presented the most important results of the review “Compatibility of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Georgia and related legislation with European standards” carried out by the Council of Europe. The following areas need further improvement, the review found:

  • approach to drafting legal acts;
  • protecting the interests of victims and vulnerable people;
  • Carrying out investigative measures;
  • The imposition of coercive measures;
  • Conducting plea negotiations;
  • Ensuring equality of arms and the adversarial process;
  • The arrangements for the jury trial.

The European Union Delegation to Georgia and the Council of Europe reiterated their support for judicial reform to further improve the criminal justice system and ensure an effective, fair and transparent criminal process.

Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, spoke about the importance of human rights and the rule of law as criteria in the EU enlargement process: The rule of law and human rights are also key criteria in the EU enlargement process. Therefore, in view of Georgia’s application for membership, the compatibility of the Georgian criminal justice system with European standards is of crucial importance,” he said.

Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia: “The participation and commitment of the Georgian authorities at the conference is undeniable proof of the keen interest in bringing the criminal justice system closer to the best European models; We encourage the Georgian authorities to continue working on further improving the criminal justice system, including the draft Law on the Separation of Powers between Investigation and Prosecution, the reform of the Substantive Criminal Code and the reform of the Code of Administrative Offenses.”

Anri Okhanashvili, Chairman of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee: “I would like to express my gratitude to the European Union and the Council of Europe for their support to Georgia, particularly with regard to strengthening the rule of law. We are here today to discuss criminal justice reform issues. The field of criminal law is a diverse field in which changes are taking place at a rapid pace not only in Georgia but also within Europe. This applies to both substantive and procedural criminal law. From this perspective, this type of meeting is particularly important to exchange experiences, to hear the views and assessments of experts and to do everything from our side to bring Georgian criminal law even closer to the European judicial space.”

The event was also attended by members of Parliament, international donor organizations, judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia, prosecutors, lawyers, media and civil society representatives.

“This conference is held as part of the project “Supporting the Criminal Justice Reforms – Tackling Criminal Aspects of the Judicial Reforms in Georgia” funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in their Partnership for Good Governance II 2019-2022.”

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