NGO news

Georgia’s courts are finally becoming more independent

by | Aug 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–The judiciary system has progress after the October 1, 2012, parliamentary election, a new survey has shown.

Transparency International Georgia (TIG) has scrutinized the changes in the judiciary system during the last year and concluded that the courts have became more independent after the parliamentary election.

Preliminary data on the criminal cases gathered by monitoring organizations indicate that the number of cases presented by the defense and verdicts supporting its side has increased, while the number of cases that were presented by the Prosecutor’s Office and concluded in its favor has decreased.

According to the information provided by the Prosecutor’s Office, in the first half of 2013 the Prosecutor’s Office requested pre-trial imprisonment of 1,979 individuals. Out of these 1,979 requests, 1,519 were granted, constituting 76.8 % of the total requests. In the same period last year, almost 100% of such requests were granted.

TIG considers that in the cases with high public interest, divergent trends are taking place.

According to the survey: “The court verdict is different for each specific case and charge. Is some cases, the court favors prosecution and decides on pre-trial detention of the defendants (for example: Bacho Akhalaia, Vano Merabishvili, Megis Kardava, David Kezerashvili, etc); however, in other cases, instead of the pre-trial detention, the court decides on bail as a preventive activity (for example: Zurab Chiaberashvili, Nika Gvaramia, Tengiz Gunava and etc,). In case of Tbilisi city hall, the court issued a verdict that there is no need of any measure of constraint”.

TI estimates the amendments to the Law on Common Courts are quite positive. Though the confrontation between the judiciary and the executive branch became quite clear, they held negotiations after the bill was sent to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for evaluation.

“Despite the fact that Georgia did not take into account all of the recommendations made by the Venice Commission, it is important that after several heated discussions, the parliament ratified a consensus version,” TIG’s survey says.

“There is progress in the judiciary system. The cases are studied better, judges are freer during passing the verdict,” Kakha Kozhoridze, head of Georgian Young Lawyers Association, said.



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