TBILISI, 20 February 2013 - The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) began monitoring trials of former senior officials in Georgia today. The first is the preliminary hearing in the trial of former Defence Minister Bachana Akhalaia who is charged, along with seven co-defendants, with carrying out illegal imprisonment and torture as well as with abuse of power.
“Trial monitoring is a powerful tool for supporting judicial reforms and promoting adherence to domestic and international guarantees of fair trial rights,” said Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of ODIHR. “I am confident that our monitoring activity in Georgia will contribute to the consolidation of the country’s democratic institutions.”
A team of international ODIHR monitors will assess relevant domestic law and trial proceedings for their compliance with international fair trial standards. The team will release a final report describing any shortcomings identified during the monitoring activities and provide recommendations aimed at enhancing the administration of criminal justice in line with OSCE commitments.
Throughout its monitoring the team will observe court proceedings in strict adherence with the principles of objectivity and non-intervention in judicial processes and in line with ODIHR trial monitoring methodology, as outlined in the publication Trial Monitoring: A Reference Manual for Practitioners.