07TBILISI932, Ambassador’s meeting with High School of Justice and High

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI932 2007-04-25 12:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0932 1151212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251212Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6165
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3910
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 0293
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0295
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0027
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2118

UNCLAS TBILISI 000932 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/RPM, AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: Ambassador's meeting with High School of Justice and High 
Council of Justice 
 
 
1.  Summary: Ambassador met with representatives of the Georgian 
High School of Justice (HSOJ) and High Council of Justice to discuss 
the HSOJ's progress on meeting the legislatively imposed deadline 
for launching a fourteen-month training course for newly appointed 
judges.  With less then the six months to go before the October 
deadline, the HSOJ has not yet finalized the curriculum nor retained 
the instructors.  Ambassador Tefft stressed the critical nature of 
meeting the deadline for launching the mandatory course for the 
Georgian Government to demonstrate progress in the area of judicial 
reform to continue along the path to NATO membership.  He also said 
the US government is willing to provide assistance in promoting 
judicial reform efforts.  End Summary. 
 
2.  On April 20, Ambassador Tefft met with the Director of the HSOJ 
David Saakashvili, Deputy Director Shota Rukhadze and the Secretary 
of the High Council of Justice Valeri Tsertsvadze to discuss the 
legislatively imposed deadline for launching the training course for 
newly appointed judges.  According to Rukhadze, the staff of the 
school is still elaborating the curriculum, including by reviewing 
different models from other countries such as Spain, France and 
Latvia.  Because the concept of the HSOJ is based on Western 
European models (predominately the French system) the Council of 
Europe is providing assistance in the development of the curriculum. 
 Rukhadze said the HSOJ asked the French for assistance, but he 
added that the Georgians expect their HSOJ curriculum to most 
closely resemble East European models.  According to Saakashvili, 
the HSOJ will devote two meetings to the issue of establishing the 
curriculum.  One will be held in Strasbourg and the broader one will 
be held in Tbilisi with the participation of donor countries.  The 
HSOJ anticipates that a draft final curriculum will be shared with 
the donor community in late June. 
 
3.  However, even if the curriculum is established, the HSOJ has not 
yet identified or retained a sufficient number of qualified 
instructors.  According to Saakashvili, though the Georgians are 
prepared to use judges as instructors, they recognize that most of 
the judges are overwhelmed by their workload and have no time to 
sufficiently prepare to lead the training.  Tsertsvadze added that 
High Council of Justice is trying to simplify the procedures and 
legislation to assist judges.  The Ambassador encouraged the 
representatives of the HSOJ to consider retaining international 
experts and/or hiring permanent staff to promote high quality 
instruction rather than simply relying on judges to provide the 
training.  Saakashvili said he envisages using "permanent teaching 
staff" in the future and is even considering using the Western 
European model of seconded judges as trainers. 
 
4.  The representatives anticipate that the initial class at the 
HSOJ will consist of 25 judges.  They pointed out, however, that 
this is not a sufficient number to fill the over 100 current 
vacancies in the courts.  According to Tsertsvadze, during the last 
two years the High Council of Justice managed to appoint only 
126-128 judges.  In May, the High Council of Justice expects to 
conduct qualification exams and to appoint 20-25 more judges.  In 
addition, after the training starts in the HSOJ, the new judges will 
be appointed as magistrate judges upon the completion of the 
theoretical part of the training, to provide them with practical 
experience and to fill critical vacancies.  However, according to 
current plans, the fourteen-month course will not be conducted on a 
rolling basis.  Therefore, there may be a gap in filling all 
vacancies in the judiciary since new judges must complete the 
fourteen-month training before taking the bench.  The Ambassador 
once again stressed the critical nature of meeting the deadline for 
launching the course. 
 
5.  At the end of the meeting, Ambassador Tefft once again offered 
USG assistance in promoting judicial reform and for that purpose 
asked that the representatives keep the Embassy informed about 
developments and needs. 
 
Tefft

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