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Human Rights Center to Present Findings of the Research on New Rule of Witness Interrogation in Georgia

01.10.2017

On October 3, Human Rights Center will present the Research Report into the New Rule on Witness Interrogation in the Hotel Tbilisi Marriott. 

The Center finalized one-year project – Researching New Rule of Witness Interrogation in Georgia. The research studied the practical implementation of the new rule on witness interrogation, which was enforced on February 20, 2016. 

HRC researchers obtained useful information through interviews with the lawyers, prosecutors, judges and lawyers of the nongovernmental organizations which are member of the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary and other actors, who have experience and expertise of working on criminal cases. 

In the frame of the research, Human Rights Center signed cooperation memorandums with the Public Defender’s Office and State Legal Aid Service. Representatives and researchers of the organization met the Chairwoman of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association and former chairman of the Tbilisi City Court, who was personally questioned as a witness in front of the court with regard to a criminal case. 

The project included the component of the free legal aid. HRC lawyers personally represented the witnesses during the trials, including the director general of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia.

Human Rights Center studied the following issues: how the new rule works in practice; whether the rights of the witness are protected during the interrogation before the Magistrate Judge; whether the motion of the Prosecutor and the court decision are grounded; whether the principle of adversarial hearing is upheld during the interrogation of the witness; whether the existing rules on witness interrogation ensure the security of the witness; whether the witnesses have understood their rights, and more. 

The research revealed that granting the right to request interrogation of witness before the Magistrate Judge to only the prosecution side significantly violates the principles of adversarial hearing and equality of arms. The research also revealed the lack of sufficient substantiation in the motions of the Prosecutor and the rulings of the Judges.

Human Rights Center elaborated recommendations towards the prosecutor’s office and the court, which will be further advocated together with the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary. 

The project “Researching New Rule of Witness Interrogation in Georgia” was implemented by Human Rights Center with financial support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation.


Human Rights Center 

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