April 2013
Court Monitoring Programs Highlight Shortcomings in Criminal and Administrative Court Proceedings

EWMI grantees, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and Transparency International Georgia (TI) presented the findings of their most recent court monitoring efforts on April 2, 2013.  In GYLA’s case, their findings covered the period July to December 2012; TI’s reporting covered the period June to October 2012. While GYLA and TI found that the courts generally followed the procedures prescribed by law, they noted that the courts continued to show a clear preference for the prosecution in criminal cases and for the state party in administrative cases.

They found this preference was especially evident in cases where political interests were involved.  While the groups reported a slightly positive trend towards objectivity and professionalism by the courts, the results were not substantially different than what the groups reported six months ago.  The only truly significant change observed in the behavior of the courts, was in cases involving former government officials charged with crimes by the new government.  In these cases, the courts were substantially more lenient toward the defendants in terms of imposing bail and pretrial detention than they had been with any other category of defendant in the past.  Judicial representatives attended the April 2nd event and provided their views of the reports’ findings.  They expressed their general support for the monitoring efforts but suggested that the reports did not provide a complete picture of what was happening in the courts.