Coalition Comments on President’s Vetoing Two Legislative Acts - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Coalition Comments on President’s Vetoing Two Legislative Acts

30 March, 2017

As it is well known, on 24 April 2013, the President vetoed the Law of Georgia on Common Law Courts and the amendments to the Criminal Procedures Code. The Coalition reacts to this fact and once again expresses its position regarding each of the two draft laws.

As you are aware, the draft amendments to the Criminal Procedures Code have undergone several changes. Experts of the Venice Commission as well as member organizations of the Coalition have been involved in the process of improving the draft law. Consultations were held with representatives of the judiciary too. Initiators of the draft law took into account the bulk of recommendations submitted by various subjects, including on issues concerning the termination of powers of members of the council, the involvement of parliamentary minority and others. An agreement was also achieved with the judiciary. As a result, both the Chairman of Supreme Court and the President of Venice Commission stated that they share the spirit of the draft law and the reform.

Nevertheless, the President vetoed this draft law which means that the process will continue in the parliament, thus requiring additional time and procedures according to the law. The Coalition believes that the draft law adopted by the parliament is a crucial component of the reform, strengthening the judiciary and increasing the degree of its independence. A timely enactment of the draft law is vitally important for the justice system. However, the President’s veto may significantly impede this process which, first and foremost, will harm the interests of courts.

As regards the amendments concerning the institution of jury trial which was also vetoed by the President, the Coalition sticks to its earlier position that this draft law requires serious elaboration. Given that this issue concerns a legitimate interest of an accused person, it is important to observe a balance between the defense and the prosecution and the avoidance of jury trial must not depend on the position of prosecution alone. To this end, the parliament must, at least, state in the draft law that the final decision on the conduct of jury trial lies with a court which will be taken on the basis of a substantiated motion submitted not only by the defense but also the prosecution.
In conclusion, we will note once again that it is important to take into account a high public interest towards a timely and efficient implementation of the court reform. This largely depends on timely enactment of the amendments which will be made to the Law on Common Law Courts. No less important is for the parliament to continue work on the issue of the right to refuse a jury trial.

Davit Asatiani
Chairman of Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary
Kakha Kozhoridze
Deputy Chairman of Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary