The Ninth Public Forum of the Coalition

Herbert Bowman, Chief of Party, The Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project, East-West Management Institute, Inc., opened a public forum on problematic issues in Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia held by the Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary on December 9, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.

The forum, organized by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), was part of USAID’s Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project (JILEP), which brought together government and civil society stakeholders to discuss the selected problematic issues in the Criminal Law Procedure Code, namely, matters related to plea bargaining and victims’ rights. The event participants focused their attention on the findings of the research undertaken by the Criminal Law working group of the Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary. Namely, the discussion centered on such matters as (1) privileges exercised by the prosecutorial side, when negotiating a plea bargain, (2) legislative lacunae related to judicial authority regarding the review of plea bargain agreements, (3) vague legislative provisions with respect to the obligation to explain to the defendant the full ramifications of the plea bargain, and (4) the need to ensure that, in criminal law cases, the victims’ interests are fully taken into consideration by the prosecution and the courts.

Representatives of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of the government, as well as practicing lawyers, journalists, international donor organizations, and experts in the field, attended the meeting. This was the ninth forum in a series organized by the Coalition. The Coalition aims to strengthen the capacity of legal professional associations, legal rights NGOs, business associations, and the media in monitoring relevant judicial practices and advocating for an independent judiciary.

The forum and the Coalition are supported by the U.S. Government through its implementing partner East West Management Institute Inc., as a part of its ongoing initiatives to support democracy and the rule of law in Georgia through USAID.


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