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The News in Brief

Monday, December 8
Ukrainian, Georgian judicial experts believe it is early to introduce jury system

Judicial experts in Ukraine and Georgia are unanimous in their opinion that it is too early to introduce a jury system in these two countries, since their societies are not ready “for that ultra-modern legal technology.”

This emerged during a video link discussion on the subject “Should the Jury System be Introduced?” moderated by the RIA Novosti Tbilisi-based International Press Centre on December 5.

Gia Meparishvili, former Prosecutor-General of Georgia, said: “Serious changes have been made in Georgia overn the last few years. The corruption level has been significantly reduced, the material and technical basis of the court system in Georgia has been improved and new ideas have emerged.

“A jury system is a rather expensive thing. I do not support the idea of its introduction in Georgia at this stage. A jury system is a privilege of developed countries. We should refrain from introducing it.

“Corruption in the legal system has been practically brought to zero, but judges are not insured against pressure from the authorities. Recent studies indicate there is a low level of confidence in the courts, which is in the last place in the list of state institutions people trust. However the noble idea of a court of jurors should not be discredited.”

Vadim Kolisnichenko, Deputy of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, representing the Party of the Regions, said: “The problem of corruption in the judicial system is far more acute in Ukraine than in Georgia. We still have an ailing judicial community and the lack of a necessary material base. Thus, we should think twice before introducing the jury system.”

Gela Nikolaishvili, a lawyer with the NGO “Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights” said: “This is a topical issue. I am not against this system but I am against turning this system into an umbrella for covering the unfair judicial acts we encounter in the courts on a daily basis.

“Classically-understood corruption has been almost eradicated in Georgia. However, it has been replaced by the political variety. Judges now have higher salaries and are enjoying certain advantages. Everything has been done to ensure that they make the decisions required by the authorities, rather than render justice in accordance with the rule of law. In such conditions the jury may turn into a tool of shifting responsibility from the authorities onto the public.

“The major threat in this case is pressure on the part of the authorities. The authorities frequently exert pressure upon witnesses in order to urge them to change their evidence. The same may happen with a jury as well.”
(Black Sea Press)

Georgian Parliament ratifies agreement on EUMM status in Georgia

The Parliament of Georgia ratified on Friday the agreement between the EU and Georgia “On the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM)’s Status in Georgia.”

The EU Monitoring Mission was established following the August conflict and started monitoring the situation in Georgia and the implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed on October 1. The total number of international mission personnel, including HQ staff, is 225. 22 European Union Member States have contributed personnel to the mission.

“Ratification of the agreement On the EU Monitoring Mission’s Status in Georgia by Parliament ensures that everything is being done within a clear-cut legal framework from the point of view of Georgian legislation,” Giorgi Kandelaki, Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, told a Black Sea Press reporter.

Kandelaki said that the EUMM enjoys diplomatic status on Georgian territory. He also emphasized that “the mission will lose its purpose if it is not allowed on the Georgian territories occupied by Russian troops.” If this does not happen, says Kandelaki, “all other efforts to advance the peacekeeping process will also be in vain.”
(Black Sea Press)

Prime Minister of Georgia visits Shida Kartli

On Friday December 5, Prime Minister of Georgia Grigol Mgaloblishvili visited the Shida Kartli region (Eastern Georgia), Black Sea Press was informed by the Press Service of the Chancellery. With the Governor of Shida Kartli Vladimir Vardzelashvili, the Premier visited the village of Mereti in Gori region where a controlled anti-tank missile launched from Ossetian-controlled territory blew up near a police department building. The Premier met the population of Mereti.

“This is one more example of why EU monitors must be given access to the occupied territories of Georgia where provocations take place. Despite this provocation however our answer is not retaliation but building new houses for IDPs,” Mgaloblishvili said. The Prime Minister said that according to his information 5,220 persons have so far been settled in new houses, and the state will take care of all people who suffered as a result of the events in August as well as it can.

In Gori Mgaloblishvili opened a social service centre, while in Karaleti he familiarized himself with the progress of a house construction project for people who had suffered as a result of the Russian aggression.
(Black Sea Press)