On September 16, five opposition parties, including European Georgia, United National Movement, Strategy Agmashenebeli, Democratic Movement – United Georgia and Girchi, signed an agreement on achieving “independence” of the justice system through reforms.
The opposition parties said that the agreement envisages a number of justice reforms that will be carried out once they come to power following the October parliamentary elections. Under the agreement, reforms will be carried out at the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service.
Key points of the agreement are:
- The Interior Ministry
- Police decentralization and removal of police functions from the Interior Minister
- Introduction of the institution of elective sheriffs within self-governments, where the sheriff will be responsible for combating all types of crimes, except for those crimes, the scope of which is beyond his/her territorial competence
- Establishment of the bureau on combatting organized crime
- Prosecutor’s Office
- Giving the victim of a less serious crime the right to choose a lawyer to defend his/her interests in court. The victim’s interests may be defended by a state prosecutor or a lawyer, who in such case will act as a prosecutor
- Removal of the investigation oversight function from the Prosecutor’s Office and leaving only the authority of representation in court
- Establishment of an anti-corruption prosecutor’s office
- The State Security Service
- Dissolution of the State Security Service and abolition of its political police function
- Establishment of an independent anti-corruption bureau
Khatia Dekanoidze of the United National Movement said that “repressive” systems like the State Security Service and the Prosecutor’s Office should no longer exist and people should be given the right “to elect sheriffs who will take care of their security.”
Levan Tarkhnishvili of European Georgia noted that “we have taken previous mistakes into consideration and the order will no longer be established at the expense of human rights.”
The opposition parties said that the agreement is open for signatures from the other parties.
This is the second agreement reached by the opposition parties with the facilitation of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The first agreement on judicial reforms was reached in March.