Regional Conference on Improving the Rule of Law and Access to Justice for All

On December 1, 2023, Public Defender of Georgia Levan Ioseliani participated in the Regional Conference on Improving the Rule of Law and Access to Justice for All.

At the two-day conference, organized by UNDP Georgia, representatives of national human rights institutions and state legal aid providers from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will exchange information about their experiences, best practices and measures taken in their countries for ensuring the rule of law and justice for all, including the most vulnerable groups.

In his welcoming speech, Levan Ioseliani spoke about the experience of the Public Defender’s Office relating to the challenges and trends in terms of access to justice and the rule of law, the supervision and monitoring function, involvement in judicial reforms, cooperation with international mechanisms and participation in the reporting process.

"Improving the justice system was defined as a prerequisite for the European future of Georgia, and the European future, in turn, is related to the rule of law. This is very well understood by all of us, and therefore, the Public Defender’s Office is actively involved in the process of reforming the justice system and achieving a higher standard of the principle of the rule of law.

Effective access to justice and the rule of law for ethnic minorities requires much attention. Access to justice issues for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups is also a priority of our Office. In order to address this issue, we prepare amicus curiae briefs and special reports, we devote a whole chapter to this issue in our annual reports; We make a significant contribution to the process of judicial reform. The issue is relevant and in many cases problematic, and the debate is necessary to establish a transparent, accessible and trustworthy system", said the Public Defender.

The First Deputy Public Defender of Georgia, Tamar Gvaramadze, speaking at the conference panel, touched upon the challenges of the rule of law and human rights in Georgia, the threats of encroaching on the independence of the judicial system, and the need for legislative reform of the justice system.

She also spoke about the need to specify the mandate of the Special Investigation Service, deficiencies in the mechanism of effective response to illegal surveillance; emphasized the shortcomings of the national action strategy and expressed her hope that the recommendations of the Public Defender would be fully reflected in the strategy and all shortcomings would be eliminated. She paid particular attention to the amendments to the law on freedom of assembly-demonstrations and expression, which the Public Defender’s Office has evaluated negatively.

The First Deputy Public Defender briefly reviewed problems related to freedom of expression and media, safety of journalists and provision of information by public institutions. According to her, unfortunately, the Administrative Offences Code does not meet the standards of constitutionality and needs to be thoroughly reformed.

The First Deputy Public Defender emphasized the importance of protecting the interests of vulnerable groups and the need for a strict response from the State to hate crimes.

Within the framework of the conference, representatives of the participating countries will sign the Tbilisi Declaration on Access to State-Guaranteed Legal Aid for Forcibly Displaced Populations. The declaration establishes regional standards for promoting people-centered access to justice and strengthens coordination between state legal aid providers of Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The event was held within the framework of the UNDP Georgia project "Improving the Rule of Law and Access to Justice for All", with the support of the German Government.

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