The Georgian Parliament should not vote for the postponement of the new rule of witness interrogation - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

The Georgian Parliament should not vote for the postponement of the new rule of witness interrogation

27 December, 2013

Today, the Parliament of Georgia is holding a plenary session to discuss at the government's initiative to once again extend the deadline for the enactment of the new rule regarding the interrogation of a witness at the investigation stage.

The new rule of witness interrogation abolishes undue advantages currently granted to the prosecution and, in this way, ensures the equality of the parties. In particular, it will no longer be only within the prosecution’s power to obtain the witness testimony on mandatory basis at the investigation stage. Instead, questioning of witnesses shall be made mandatory only at the trial by both the prosecution and the defense on equal conditions.

The postponement of the new interrogation rule until December 31, 2015, constitutes a clearly negative move, and is in direct conflict with the rights guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution. In addition, the adoption of the above amendment will impede the progressive development of Georgian Criminal Justice and will protract the existing unequal position of the parties as far as the criminal justice procedure is concerned.

Importantly, the postponement of the enactment of the above mentioned rule has acquired a permanent nature. Such an approach is, subsequently, prone to cast doubt on the government's will to establish the recognized standards of human rights. At the same time, this practice (postponement of the enactment of law) violates the principle of the rule of law yielding a perception of injustice in the public.

For all the above reasons, we urge the Georgian Parliament to reject the Government's proposal and not delay the adoption of the new rule of witness interrogation, as well as to fulfill the role assigned to it by the Constitution and undertake the responsibility to determine the government’s policy concerning this most important issue.

Transparency International Georgia

The Georgian Democratic Initiative (GDI)

The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Article 42 of the Constitution

Human Rights Centre