The second tranche of Euros 4.5 million released from the European Union to support Criminal Justice Reforms in Georgia (23/12/2009)
Criminal justice sector is one of the major areas where the European Union provides assistance. Reforms in this sector are crucial for strengthening the rule of law and human rights in Georgia. The €4.5 million is a second tranche being paid this year as part of the €15 million allocated to the state budget for 2009-2010 for a programme that is intended to support criminal justice reforms. The payment of each tranche is linked with Government's performance in meeting set conditions in the area of justice sector management, better treatment of juveniles, penal and probation reforms, improved free legal aid provision, strengthening the office of public defender and implementation of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (UN OPCAT).
On 23 December the European Union released the second payment of €4.5 million to Georgia’s budget under the Financing Agreement signed in December 2008 between the European Union and the Georgian Government. The assistance under this Financing Agreement amounts to €15 million during 2009-2010 with additional €1 million for complementary assistance projects. All of this assistance is intended to strengthen rule of law and human rights protection through support to criminal justice reforms.
The second tranche in the amount of €4.5 million instead of planned €5 million was released on the basis of assessment that concluded that conditions were fully met in all but one area – Juvenile Justice, where the EU noted less than full, but substantial compliance.
The EU welcomes progress in many areas of criminal justice reform, notably adoption of updated sector Strategy and Action plans, stronger and more effective inter-sector cooperation and coordination with donors and civil society, government's commitments to ensure compliance of criminal justice legislation with Human Rights Standards, improved practice and strengthened capacities of probation and legal aid service, Public Defender's Office, improved conditions for juveniles. However, the evaluation of the programme is a formal exercise, where compliance has to be full in order to authorise full payment.
Sector Budget Support is a new way of delivering aid in the area of justice in Georgia. This instrument provides for the existence of certain conditions (general as well as specific) which have to be met by the government to allow for the transfer of funds. Each year the EU assesses the progress achieved and compliance with set conditions and releases the tranche in the amount that corresponds to the level of fulfilment of sector reform conditions.
Conditions of this programme are related to the range of issues relevant to the criminal justice sector including sector management, better treatment of juveniles, penal and probation reforms, improved free legal aid provision, strengthening the office of the Public Defender and implementation of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (UN OPCAT). Coordination of policy, institutional and legislative reforms within these institutions and participation of Georgian civil society and other donors is itself a major product of the programme.
The release of the first €5 million in early 2009 indicated that the government had met the initial requirement of the programme related to re-establishment of transparent and inclusive sector management body and thematic working groups for coordination and management of sector reform, with membership drawn from across Government, independent bodies such as the Public Defender’s Office, civil society and the donor community.
In addition to transferring funds to the state budget through Budget Support, the European Union actively supports the criminal justice sector through ongoing assistance projects for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, the Public Defender's office and the civil society. Under the EU financing currently 10 NGO are working in areas related to criminal justice reform process.
For further information please contact:
Ministry of Justice of Georgia:
Tamar Tomashvili, (Head of Public International Law Department)
Tamar Khulordava, Project Manager
Tamriko Mikadze, Press and Information Officer
Ministry of Justice of Georgia
EU Delegation to Georgia: