Conference on Access to Justice and Rule of Law

On February 29, 2024, Public Defender Levan Ioseliani participated in a conference on the theme: “Making Justice Equally Accessible for All”.

Representatives of national human rights institutions, authorities, court, civil society organizations and academic circles discussed the trends and achievements of the rule of law in Georgia and the best practices of strengthening institutions. They talked about the challenges and achievements in the direction of human rights protection, including the protection of the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, as well as the goals and steps to be implemented to achieve positive results through strategic litigation.

The conference was opened by Robin Dunnigan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Georgia.

In his speech, Public Defender Levan Ioseliani spoke about the progress achieved in the direction of justice in the last 30 years and the challenges that must be addressed. In particular, he emphasized the need to reform the judicial system. “Trust in a fair judicial system determines the existence of a fair society, which in itself is a guarantee of the strengthening of democracy and state institutions," he said.

The Public Defender briefly reviewed the problems described in the annual parliamentary report and the recommendations developed to eliminate them, the lawsuits and opinions of the friend of the court filed with the Constitutional Court. He also added that there were issues that could only be resolved with the active involvement of the Parliament.

He positively evaluated the role and activities of the Public Defender in the direction of identifying the cases of sexual harassment and discrimination, which is proved by the increased number of applications and the readiness of citizens to apply to the Public Defender for the protection of their rights. He spoke about the ongoing information campaign to eliminate violence against women. According to him, in the next 2 years, the Office will open 4 additional regional offices, which will allow the Public Defender’s Office to cover the entire country.

"We spend a lot of time and energy to raise public awareness. Every year we hold several hundred of meetings with various thematic groups, especially in the regions. This is a preventive measure, but it is clear that the capabilities of the Public Defender alone will not be enough to combat femicide, early marriage, domestic violence and other types of violence, and effective, coordinated work of all agencies is needed to overcome these challenges. In this regard, we have legislative initiatives that are still in the process of consultations, and I hope that with joint efforts we will be able to agree on the final versions," the Public Defender said at the end of his speech.

Nino Bakakuri, judge of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Londa Bichikashvili, representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia, Davit Asatiani, Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association, Davit Simonia, Director of the Legal Aid Service, Rati Ionatamishvili, Member of Parliament of Georgia, and Nona Kurdovanidze, Chairwoman of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, also delivered speeches at the conference.

Ana Kvatchadze, acting Head of the Equality Department of the Public Defender’s Office, presented a report on the rights of vulnerable groups.

The event was organized by the USAID Rule of Law Program.

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