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USAID RULE OF LAW PROGRAM
USAID სამართლის უზენაესობის პროგრამა

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25 - 28 Apr, 2023

Supporting Georgian Judiciary to Advance its People-centered Practices and Court-community Engagement

On April 25-28, 2023, the USAID Rule of Law Program hosted a visit by three international experts from the Center for Justice Innovation (CJI) in New York: Danielle Pugh-Markie, Director, Judicial Education and Leadership; Monica Christofferson, Director of Treatment Court Programs, National Technical Assistance Team; Sruthi Naraharisetti, Senior Research Associate; and honorable Justice Anne McKeig of the Minnesota Supreme Court to observe the operations of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Batumi City Court, and Khashuri Regional Court.

The purpose was to help improve court administration practices and engagement with court users and local communities by exchanging experiences and best practices.

CJI is one of the largest and most successful community-based justice organizations in the United States, delivering a wide range of programs to help establish community justice centers and hosting numerous national and international visitors to their court programs. The organization has worked with justice systems and communities across the U.S. and internationally to improve access to justice and foster greater individual and community development, facilitating projects at all stages of the justice system to identify and eliminate systemic barriers to justice as early as possible.

At Batumi City Court on April 26, the USAID Rule of Law Program, represented by Community Engagement Advisor Tim Bunjevac, Community Engagement Coordinator Mariam Gobronidze, and Rule of Law Attorney Irina Khakhutaishvili, and CJI staff were greeted by Court Manager Inga Putkaradze, who took the guests on a court tour and answered their questions about various aspects of court operations. They were also greeted by the Court Chair, Jumber Bezhanidze.

On April 26, the U.S. guests also received a warm welcome at the Constitutional Court of Georgia, where they attended a roundtable discussion with Chief Advisor on International Relations Ekaterine Mzhavanadze and the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Merab Turava. The parties exchanged detailed views on topics such as the administrative management of the court, international constitutional law jurisprudence, case assignment, and the operation of the judicial committees of the Constitutional Court.

On April 28, a visit was held at the Khashuri Regional Court, where the guests received a very informative court tour by the Court Manager Gocha Meliqidze and talked to the bailiffs and heads of the court’s registry and the chancellery offices. The meeting lasted approximately one hour, and after the tour the guests were greeted by the Court Chair, Mevlud Khatashvili.

The participants evaluated the visits as very informative and useful for their daily activities and expressed their willingness to participate in such activities in the future. The USAID Rule of Law Program will continue to support the justice system in Georgia by improving court administration, protecting judicial independence, and making court operations more efficient and people-centered.

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