09TBILISI1511, GEORGIA: PRESENTATION ON CRIMINAL SYSTEM REFORM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1511 2009-08-07 13:56 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7500
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1511 2191356
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071356Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1999
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001511 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV KCRM KUS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: PRESENTATION ON CRIMINAL SYSTEM REFORM 
HIGHLIGHTS AMBITIOUS SCOPE 
 
1. (SBU) Summary and Comment.  Representatives of the 
interagency council to reform Georgia's criminal justice 
system, established by Presidential decree in 2008, gave a 
presentation to diplomats and civil society representatives 
on a broad range of ongoing reforms in areas of juvenile 
justice, probation, the penal code, and legal aid August 5. 
The reforms feature progressive legislation that seeks to 
comply with international standards and to increase the 
efficiency and accountability of Georgia,s justice system. 
The presentation stressed the transparency of the reform 
process and welcomed constructive criticism from a wide range 
of interested parties, including the Georgia Bar Association 
and local NGOs.  While many of the details are yet to be 
worked out, the Council,s reforms have an ambitious scope 
and post is monitoring and supporting the legislative process 
that will implement them.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
FOUR WORKING GROUPS OUTLINE VISION FOR REFORM 
 
2. (SBU) In December 2008, President Saakashvili signed a 
decree, supported by the European Commission, to establish a 
Criminal Justice Reform InterAgency Coordination Council to 
elaborate and implement broad reform in Georgia's criminal 
justice system.  The Council created four working groups to 
handle areas of juvenile justice, the penitentiary system, 
probation, and legal aid.  The presentation of the Council,s 
activities featured representatives from each of the working 
groups outlining the specific objectives of each group and 
the general time-frame for implementing their strategies and 
action plans.  The Council has laid out a five year plan for 
full implementation of the reform process. 
 
3. (SBU) Kerry Neal from UNICEF discussed juvenile justice 
and stressed the need to create a system that complies with 
international standards and norms focused on prevention, 
rehabilitation and integration.  Reforms in this sphere will 
focus on tailoring programs for at-risk children, and 
developing alternative schemes for less serious child 
offenders to prevent them from establishing a criminal 
record.  Reintegration programs will provide education, 
public awareness programs, and workforce skills such as 
auto-repair.  One of the working group's main goals is to 
press for the increase in age of criminal responsibility from 
age 12 to 14 years.  Neal expressed confidence that the GOG 
is committed to this reform. 
 
4. (SBU) Giorgi Jokhadze from the Ministry of Justice focused 
on penal system reform, which seeks to revise Georgia,s Code 
of Imprisonment.  Major goals include improved prison 
conditions, addressing overcrowding, prisoner access to 
health care and increased inspections and monitoring.  The 
reforms will feature increased labor opportunities for 
inmates, and educational opportunities for juveniles.  Based 
on the EU model, a new penitentiary system will reduce 
overcrowding and provide provisions for monitored parole 
release.  Stronger legal safeguards will ensure a complaint 
procedure and appropriate disciplinary proceedings.  A 
National Preventive Group will be created to inspect prisons 
and provide uniform standards of oversight against prisoner 
abuse (septel). 
 
5. (SBU) Rait Kuuse of Penal Reform International and the EU 
Project for Capacity Building in Support of Rule of Law in 
Georgia discussed probation service reform.  Under the new 
law, the Probation Servic will be a separate legal entity 
under the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, with 
regional probation bureaus and offices established to reduce 
the caseloads per officer.  The legislative framework 
Qthe caseloads per officer.  The legislative framework 
regulating probation will include pre-sentence reporting and 
electronic monitoring.  The Ministry will provide in-service 
training to probation officers, specializing in juveniles and 
young offenders.  The supervision system will be modernized 
with electronic systems, fingerprint analysis, and 
risk-assessment.  Rehabilitation programs will increase 
offender involvement in planning and implementation of his or 
her probation, while NGOs will pilot projects to increase 
community service in different areas of the country. 
 
6. (SBU) Irakli Kobidze of the Legal Aid Service discussed 
his working group, which focused on increasing accessibility 
and quality of legal aid.  New reforms will develop 
infrastructure, provide modern equipment, guarantee 
contracted lawyers, and raise public awareness. 
TEFFT

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