In recent years, significant systemic and institutional changes have taken place in the Georgian judiciary. Criminal Justice Day is a summary of the reforms and changes in this field, highlighting the changes made to the Criminal Code in the last 10 years, the need for the investigative system reform and number of specific problematic issues associated with certain articles of the Criminal Code, discussion of the judge’s role in the criminal justice process and issues related to the drug policy.
On December 18, Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary organized the publication of a Study on 2009 Amendments to the Criminal Code that can be considered as the most substantial stage in the reform of the criminal justice system. The changes to the Procedural Code concerned the transition from the inquisitorial to the adversarial system, therefore regulating differently the role of a judge in the litigation process, the principle of immediacy, operative-investigative activity, etc. The purpose of these changes was to increase public confidence in the judiciary and to provide objective and impartial investigation. The study reveals that the Georgian criminal justice system still lingers on a stage of vague transformation. The jury trial, such an important element of the Procedural Code, has not yet been fully enacted. The equality of parties in obtaining evidence is not guaranteed, as the capacity of the defense to pursue the case independently and thoroughly remains significantly restricted.
The speakers included: Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Georgian Democracy Initiative, Association of Law Firms of Georgia, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Article 42 of the Constitution.
The event is supported by the East-West Management Institute project “Support to the Rule of Law in Georgia” and the United States Agency for International Development.