23:53, Tuesday, 17.07.2018
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Public Defender’s Right to Monitor Hearing of Cyanide Case Restricted



On May 30, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia arrived at the Tbilisi City Court in order to attend the hearing of the so-called cyanide case. Unfortunately, the judge did not allow the Public Defender to attend the trial. According to the judge, the procedural legislation does not explicitly include a norm allowing the Public Defender to attend closed trials.

By taking into consideration the increased public interest and the right to a fair trial, the Public Defender echoes the so-called cyanide case and clarifies that the Public Defender is authorized by law to attend closed trials. The Public Defender of Georgia has already mentioned that unjustified closure of the hearing of the cyanide case does not serve to increase trust in justice, hampers effective public control and does not comply with the existing procedural-legal norms.

It should be noted that according to the Constitution of Georgia, the Public Defender shall supervise protection of human rights and freedoms throughout Georgia, including in the judiciary system. According to the Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender of Georgia, the Public Defender also has the right to get acquainted with the confidential information, including information containing state secrets.

It is noteworthy that both the Constitution of Georgia and the Organic Law represent normative acts of much higher level than the Code of Criminal Procedure. In the given case, these acts represent a special law, as far as they define the exclusive power of the Public Defender in the process of protection of human rights and freedoms.
According to the Public Defender, public control over the case which causes the highest public interest has become impossible after the complete closure of the hearing. Under the circumstances when the defense still remains obliged not to disclose case details, the Public Defender considers it necessary to fully use the powers granted to him by the Constitution and the legislation of Georgia and to personally monitor the trial.

The Public Defender of Georgia confirms respect for the independence and interests of the judiciary. In addition, he hopes that the Georgian legislation will not be ignored at the next court session and he will be able to attend it.

The Public Defender will appeal to the Tbilisi City Court in writing in the nearest future to explain the above-mentioned legislative circumstances.

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