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In Georgia, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) trains legal aid attorneys and private criminal defense attorneys on the country’s October 2010 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), helping them better represent and defend their clients. The code introduced jury trials and marked a transition to an adversarial system of justice. ABA ROLI conducts extensive CPC trainings for attorneys to support the transition. We also conduct trial advocacy skills and forensic evidence trainings to enhance attorneys’ knowledge of forensic science and their ability to select, present and cross-examine witnesses.
As part of an ongoing criminal law reform program, from early 2010 to June 2011, ABA ROLI:
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to strengthen the capacity of Georgian legal professionals and institutions to uphold the right to due process and to increase access to justice within the new adversarial system. ABA ROLI’s legal profession reform initiatives include:
Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) trainings: To ensure sustainability of the CPC trainings, ABA ROLI prepared a cadre of local attorneys to train their peers. ABA ROLI conducted a four-day training of trainers in July 2010. The 20 trainers who took part in this training have in turn trained more than 1,600 criminal defense attorneys around the country. The trainings equip defense attorneys with the knowledge and skills they need to competently represent their clients.
Trial advocacy skills trainings: Georgia has about 3,000 criminal defense attorneys and ABA ROLI has trained more than 1,500 of them in Trial Advocacy Skills. The trainings, each of which culminates in mock trials, allow participants to practice key skills and improve Georgian defense attorneys’ ability to provide quality legal representation.
Forensic skills trainings: These trainings cover all aspects of the introduction of forensic evidence in jury trials, in line with Georgia’s 2010 CPC. To make these trainings sustainable, ABA ROLI trained 20 Georgian defense attorneys—10 from the capital, Tbilisi, and 10 from the regions—to become trainers. By the end of the current program, ABA ROLI will have trained more than 700 defense attorneys. Trainees learn how to use expert-witness testimony, including on such essential evidentiary matters as DNA analysis, fingerprints, firearms identification and ballistics, arson and explosives, insanity and mental illness defenses, traffic accident investigation and crime scene investigation procedure. The trainings are enhanced with hands-on experience in courtroom simulation, as well as with a comprehensive forensics manual, which covers the content of the trainings in more depth. Available in Georgian, the manual is an important resource the trainees use as a reference in their daily practice.