Georgian Gov’t welcomes OSCE/ODIHR's trial monitoring report

Initiated upon the invitation of the Georgian authorities the trial monitoring project monitored a total of 327 court hearings., 10 Dec 2014 - 13:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Government of Georgia is welcoming the role of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) for supporting the country’s ongoing judicial reforms, following the release of a report outlining the current state of the court system.

The ODIHR report started monitoring the judicial system in Georgian in February 2013. Report results were released yesterday, which saw the ODIHR offer recommendations to those in the criminal justice sector on the importance of fair trial rights and the independence of the judiciary and how both areas can be strengthened in law and practice.

See the story: OSCE's Human Right office advices Georgia to further strengthen independence of the judiciary 

The Government believed the Trial Monitoring Report on Georgia would provide constructive advice and recommendations to support ongoing judicial reforms and effectively contribute to the strengthening of the country’s democratic institutions.

During the trial monitoring period, the ODIHR reviewed 14 criminal cases against senior officials of the previous government in Georgia. Monitoring was done after being invited by the Georgian Government to review the current state of the courts. The Georgian authorities believed this appeal had one main purpose – to identify violations in legal proceedings and eliminate them through reform.

"The fact that the Government came up with an initiative to invite the OSCE/ODIHR Monitoring Mission reaffirms the commitment of the current Government to ensuring openness and transparency of ongoing processes in the country,” said a press statement of the Government’s Administration.

The trial monitoring project monitored a total of 327 court hearings since February 2013. The report provided analysis of compliance with selected fair trial rights, with a focus on identifying shortcomings in court practice and national legislation.

The Government’s statement said that during similar monitoring missions undertaken in the past, the OSCE/ODIHR always identified certain violations, so many governments avoid inviting ODIHR missions for future reviews.

"The very goal of such missions is to identify violations in court proceedings. The report confirms that there is no politically motivated legal persecution in Georgia,” the Government said.

The country’s authorities pledged it would spare no effort to ensure the successful implementation of the recommendations offered in the report and the elimination of the violations identified in the process of monitoring.

The Government reminded that important reforms have already been carried out in the judicial sector in the past two years. It said this process had not been completed yet and was still ongoing.

"At the political decision of the Georgian Government, judicial reform was launched and its intensive implementation continues. Its effective implementation is one of the top priorities of the Government,” read the statement.

To ensure the right of citizens to free trials and to correct current issues, the report offered three recommendations for the executive body of the government, four recommendations for the Prosecutor’s office and 34 recommendations to the Court system.