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USAID RULE OF LAW PROGRAM
USAID სამართლის უზენაესობის პროგრამა

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26 Oct 2022

Coordination Workshop on Strategic Litigation in Georgia: Challenges and Barriers

The USAID Rule of Law Program supports the Public Defender’s Office (PDO) and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in strengthening access to justice through strategic litigation. 

To this end, on October 26, 2022, the Program organized a coordination workshop on the challenges and barriers to strategic litigation in Georgia. The aim of the meeting was to bring together members of the PDO and representatives of the NGOs who are engaged in strategic litigation to improve coordinated collaboration with each other. 

“We are actively cooperating with donor organizations and local NGOs in the matter of strategic litigation. The partnership includes expert assistance and the preparation and submission of lawsuits. It is my great desire that the legacy of the existing cooperation remains with the future Public Defender and that the work in this direction actively continues in future.” - said Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria in her welcome remarks. 

USAID Rule of Law Program Chief of Party Giorgi Chkheidze stated that support for the PDO and local NGOs in direction of strategic litigation is a key priority for the USAID Rule of Law Program and it is a credit to the important work the NGOs and PDO do. 

"I am proud to say that through USAID’s previous rule of law programming NGOs’ strategic litigation resulted in over 45 legal precedents. We are happy that this process continues as part of the USAID Rule of Law Program as well. Within the framework of this support, cases related to violence against women, rights of ethnic and religious minorities, rights of children, rights of persons with disabilities, right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and rights of journalists still remain our priority. " - said Giorgi Chkheildze. 

Topics of the discussion included ongoing and upcoming strategic litigation cases of the PDO and NGOs on the rights to liberty and security, right to dignity, right to equality, right of persons with disabilities, and social and political rights.

Deputy Public Defender of Georgia Giorgi Burjanadze shared the experience of Public Defender regarding strategic litigation before the Constitutional Court of Georgia and submission of amicus curiae briefs and reported that forty-three cases and eight amicus curiae briefs have been submitted to the Constitutional Court.

Head of the PDO’s Strategic Litigation Division Mikheil Sharashidze presented the strategic litigation plan of the Public Defender’s Office for 2022-2023, which mainly focuses on the right to liberty and security, right to dignity, right to equality, rights of persons with disabilities, and social and political rights. 

The NGOs discussed their strategic litigation cases before the common courts, the Constitutional Court and various international mechanisms in a discussion moderated by the USAID Rule of Law Program’s Access to Justice Advisor Eka Bokuchava and Legal Aid Advisor Mariam Gabedava. Nona Kurdovanidze from GYLA and Eduard Marikasvhili of GDI discussed their organizations’ cases related to right to liberty and security; Vasil Zhizhiashvili of GYLA and Tamar Samkharadze of Social Justice Center discussed their organizations’ cases on right to equality; and Ana Tavkhelidze discussed PHR’s cases on rights of persons with disabilities. 

The discussion revealed areas where more coordinated work and mobilization of resources are needed. The participants identified several systemic problems and agreed to join forces on issues such as access to justice for persons who are under compulsory treatment and unequal and unconstitutional regulation of pension provisions. The USAID Rule of Law Program will support such collaboration to improve access to justice and the protection of human rights for all in Georgia.

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