EU Helps Georgia with `Rule of Law’

Baku Today / Civil Georgia
July 22 2004

EU Helps Georgia with `Rule of Law’

European Union has deployed its first ever `Rule of Law’ mission to
Georgia to help the country in reforming its one of the most
challenging law enforcement, judiciary and criminal law systems.

Head of the mission, French judge Sylvie Pantz says that the human
rights will be one of the main focuses of the mission, which consists
total of ten civilian experts from the EU member states.

Sylvie Pantz, who after serving as a judge and prosecutor in France
for 20 years gained international experience as well by heading the
investigating division at the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia, outlined the `Rule of Law’ mission’s priorities at
a news briefing in Tbilisi on July 22.

`I want to say that we are not bringing money, but we are bringing
something much more precious, which is our expertise, our skills and
our judicial knowledge,’ the head of the mission said at a news
briefing in Tbilisi.

`The mission will undertake the guidance for Georgia’s new criminal
justice reform strategy, including support in the planning of new
legislation, for example the Criminal Procedure Code,’ Sylvie Pantz

She said that the mission, which will last for a year, will also
support the Georgian authorities to coordinate judicial reform and
anti-corruption measures, as well as will support international and
regional cooperation in the area of criminal justice.

Sylvie Pantz says that the mission will try to help Georgia to set up
a reformed criminal-justice system, which, as she put, `will not be
my French system, it will be your Georgian system.’

Legal experts from EU member states will be co-located in the
Ministry of Justice, Interior Ministry, General and District
Prosecutors Offices in Tbilisi, Council of Justice, Supreme Court, as
well as Tbilisi District Court and Public Defender’s Office to
provide Georgian officials with recommendations.

The mission has already outlined the first task for the Georgian
officials. Sylvie Pantz expressed hope that by the end of this year,
officials from the judicial and law enforcement agencies `will draft
the strategy document over the reforms.

`[The strategy document]…will included everything, including
structure of judiciary, number of judges, number of courts, salaries
for the judges, training of the judges, discipline for the judges and
the same [provisions] in regard to the prosecutors and Ombudsman,’
Sylvie Pantz said.

Fact-finding visits to the Georgian regions, where the
judicial-criminal system faces even more problems than in the capital
city, are also scheduled by the members of `Rule of Law’ mission.

Sylvie Pantz also said that the mission will follow closely all the
cases of reported abuse of human rights by the law enforcement

On the occasion of launch of the `Rule of Law’ mission to Georgia,
the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the
Tbilisi-based Human Rights Information and Documentation Center
(HRIDC) sent an open letter to Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy
chief, on July 9, expressing concern over the recent evolution of
human rights in Georgia.

`This evolution may reveal a gap between the declarations aroused by
the [Georgia’s] new authorities in favor of democracy and the
reality,’ the open letter reads.

`The increasing number of torture, inhuman and humiliating
treatments’ also remains matters of concern for the FIDH and the

Sylvie Pantz said that the mission will try `to find keys for
solution of this major issue – the human rights.’

President Mikheil Saakashvili said at the meeting with the Georgian
NGO leaders on July 6 that reforms are being implemented in the law
enforcement agencies and these violations, that are occurring right
now, will be gradually eradicated.

Launch of the `Rule of Law’ mission follows the EU’s decision to
include South Caucasus countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
into the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP).

The EU officials say that both, launching of the `Rule of Law’
mission and inclusion into the ENP emphasizes Georgia’s and the South
Caucasus importance for the European Union.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress