The Ministry of Justice has tabled draft of legislative amendments, which, if approved by the Parliament, will make it possible to apply jury trials to those high-profile cases in which former government officials were charged after the new government came into power.
Jury trial was introduced in Georgia in late 2011, but currently it only applies to cases of aggravated murder and cases of murder committed in the heat of passion, as well as in cases of rape.
According to the draft of legislative amendment, proposed by the Justice Ministry, jury trials should also apply to those cases in which former or current officials face criminal charges; the same should also apply to those who have not held public office but are charged into those same cases in which former officials were involved.
“Goal of the bill is to strengthen the jury system and also to provide to former high-ranking officials with the right to use democratic institution of jury trial as verdict delivered by jury enjoys with higher public trust,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement on January 9.
It also said that the draft of legislative amendments had already been submitted to the Parliament for consideration.
The idea of applying jury trials to the cases in which former government officials have been charged was first voiced by Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili on December 20.