OSCE’s democracy and rights arm ODIHR has launched monitoring of court proceedings of those cases in which former high level officials face criminal charges.
First such trial, which is monitored by the team of experts from ODIHR, is the one of Bacho Akhalaia, former defense and interior minister, who is charged with carrying out illegal imprisonment, torture and exceeding power.
Preliminary court hearing into the case, which apart of Akhalaia also involves seven other co-defendants, was held on February 20 and adjourned for February 28.
“Trial monitoring is a powerful tool for supporting judicial reforms and promoting adherence to domestic and international guarantees of fair trial rights,” Janez Lenarčič, the director of OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a statement on February 20. “I am confident that our monitoring activity in Georgia will contribute to the consolidation of the country’s democratic institutions.”
The team of international ODIHR monitors will assess relevant domestic law and trial proceedings for their compliance with international fair trial standards.
According to OSCE, the team will release a final report of its observations, which will describe any shortcomings identified during the monitoring activities and provide recommendations aimed at enhancing the administration of criminal justice in line with OSCE commitments.