Transitional Justice in Georgia

13 Mar, 2013

A conference on “Transitional Justice in Georgia’ was held with the support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation on the 9th of March, attended by the members of the Parliament and Government of Georgia,  representatives of diplomatic corps, international and local organizations.

Among the guests of the Conference were the president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, founder of the Human Rights Watch and a number of other influential international human rights organizations Mr. AryehNeier and  the former COECommissioner for Human Rights, EU Special Consultant in Legal and Constitutional Affairs Mr. Thomas Hammarberg.

Issues related to transitional justice, current challenges facing Georgia and relevant international experience were reviewed at the Conference.

Particularly interesting were the discussions of different approaches to transitional justice -their suitability and forms of their application.

Transitional justice approach is common in countries with serious human rights violations in the past and implies confronting and dealing with legacies of heavy consequences of past crimes by the new government.

“The main objective of transitional justice is to assurepeople,who may have become victims,that they are not alone but the whole society is concerned with the harms they had to suffer… that is the way to restore justice, if they were improperly treated in the past” – as highlighted by Mr. Aryeh Neier.

The process of transitional justice may come in the forms of criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations and institutional reforms. Different models applied by the countries with transitional justice systems, when they were confronted with the necessity of introduction of those temporary mechanisms, were discussed during the Conference.

And, though, underlining the importance of existing international experience, Mr. Thomas Hammarberg noted that a set of issues would require searching for special solutions to transitional justice in Georgia:

 “Preparation of such a draft law is not easy, because: on the one hand, people must have the right to complain, and, on the other, those responsible must be able to protect themselves in accordance to relevant procedures. I believe it is important to continue discussions on the consistency of the process that will allow us to ensure that we have corresponding procedures in place. It also gives us an opportunity to share experience of other countries”.