Rapid Response Grants

Rapid Response Grants

Rule of Law and COVID-19

Rule of Law and COVID-19

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

High Council of Justice of Georgia

High Council of Justice of Georgia

High School of Justice of Georgia

High School of Justice of Georgia

Georgian Bar Association

Georgian Bar Association

Disciplinary Committee of Judges of Common Courts of Georgia

Disciplinary Committee of Judges of Common Courts of Georgia

Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary

Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary

National Center for Commercial Law

National Center for Commercial Law

National Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution

National Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration Initiative Georgia

Arbitration Initiative Georgia

GYLA Presents Court Monitoring Findings

21 July 2020 GYLA Presents Court Monitoring Findings

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), with USAID-PROLoG’s support, organized a series of online events to present their 14th Court Monitoring Report, which covers findings from criminal chambers of 5 City/District Courts and both Appeals Courts from March 2019 through February 2020, and the findings regarding the Courts’ functioning during the pandemic, March-June 2020. The presentations were streamed live on GYLA and PROLoG’s Facebook pages to ensure public accessibility.

GYLA devoted separate events to separate major themes:

  • July 10 – the Court during the pandemic;
  • July 14 – judicial control over search and seizure and pre-trial detention;
  • July 16 – drug crimes.

GYLA found that the Georgian judiciary managed to adapt to the limitations introduced by the pandemic in a timely manner and quickly started to hold remote/online trials. However, at least for the first month, the trials were closed to anyone other than the parties. Even after some courts granted GYLA monitors access to remote hearings, most courts did not, thus showing an inconsistency of the judiciary’s approach. GYLA monitoring showed problems regarding witness interrogation, examination of evidence, and confidentiality of the client-council relations, among others. These issues will need to be addressed by the judiciary and the state to ensure that due process rights are better protected, if the pandemic necessitates a large-scale resumption of remote trials.

GYLA found that the Prosecutor’s Office continues to overwhelmingly conduct searches and seizures on the basis of urgent necessity, without first obtaining a court warrant. The number of accused presented as detainees at first appearance court sessions has critically grown over the last two reporting periods. The judges mostly do not publicly discuss the lawfulness of remand detentions and tend to leave the detention in force, without adequate substantiation. The rate of imposition of the most severe preventive measures--bail and imprisonment--are extremely high, and alternative measures are hardly ever applied. Releasing detainees without a preventive measure continues to be extremely rare.

Regarding drug related cases, GYLA found that the Prosecution requests regarding preventive measures, as well as the judicial decisions on these requests, continue to be less substantiated compared to other types of cases, and the fines in drug cases on average are higher than in other cases.

In addition to the discussions, GYLA also held a press conference on July 20 regarding the timeliness of justice, discussing the striking discrepancy between slow-moving vs. unfounded haste in certain high-profile cases. Timeliness of court proceedings has been a problem for years, without any signs of improvement. In addition to tardiness and postponement of hearings, GYLA also observed that Courts fail to render decisions in some high-profile cases for years, while they rush others beyond a reasonable timeframe without giving adequate time for the defense to prepare, giving grounds to suspicions regarding political motivation of the court’s timing of hearings and decisions.

USAID
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