Georgia, Tbilisi, May 16 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
Despite marked progress in a number of areas in the justice sector some challenges remain, in particular in ensuring citizen's right to a fair trial, EU report on implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Georgia for 2011 says.
The report says the main problem relates to the strong position of the prosecutor and the lack of independence of the judiciary. This is evidenced by very high conviction rates (98 percent), though the number of acquittals did increase slightly compared to 2010. The high conviction rates, coupled with severe punishments, result in the frequent use of plea bargaining (in
87.5 percent of cases).
"The resulting fines are channelled into the state budget. The amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, which entered into force in November 2011, enhance judicial control over plea bargaining by explicitly requiring judges to assess not only the legality, but also the fairness of agreements between the prosecution and the defendant," the report says.
The EU advises Georgia to continue the reform of the judicial system and enhance the independence and effectiveness of the court, as well as provide further liberalization of criminal law policy and practice in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe. The EU also recommends Georgia to review and modify the procedure of administrative detention in accordance with the fair administration of justice. EU also advises to take into account the recommendations of the Public Defender of Georgia during development of policy.
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