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February 27, 2015

Georgian Attorneys Credit ABA ROLI Trainings for Successful Representation of their Client

February 2015

In October 2014, four Georgian attorneys successfully defended a client in the eighth case since the country introduced jury trials through its 2010 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) previously had trained the group on practical skills, and two of the attorneys wrote a letter thanking ABA ROLI. They credited the skills they gained with helping them prove that their client was innocent of all charges filed against him, which included aggravated murder and theft from the victim.

In their December 3 letter, defense attorneys Lili Gelashvili and Irma Chkadua said that ABA ROLI’s comprehensive reference materials and interactive trainings helped them win the case. The trainings on effective cross-examination and opening and closing statements, as well as the mock jury-trials were especially helpful in convincing the jury of the client’s innocence, added the attorneys for whom the case was a first jury-trial experience. Over the past four years, ABA ROLI has trained more than 2,000—nearly 100 percent—of the country’s defense attorneys in skills necessary to effectively advocate for defendants under Georgia’s current criminal justice system.

Only three of the country’s eight jury-trial cases so far have had any favorable verdicts for the defense. ABA ROLI trainees represented the defendants in all three. “The trial ended with a full victory for the defense … due to the significant role of trainings conducted by ABA ROLI,” wrote Gelashvili and Chkadua in their letter. “The fact that [our client] is an innocent man today and not spending the rest of his life in prison on groundless charges is not only the victory of individual attorneys but a victory for the whole defense bar—therefore, we would like to thank [ABA ROLI] again.”

“This case is proof that the skills ABA ROLI builds in its trainees do not just stay in the training room; they live on in courtrooms throughout the country,” said Mamuka Mamatsashvili, ABA ROLI’s deputy country director in Georgia. “Most importantly, the skills ABA ROLI imparts help to change the lives of the defense attorneys we train and, ultimately, they help those defense attorneys to more staunchly and successfully defend people whose lives and liberties are at stake.”

ABA ROLI’s program to support judicial sector reform in Georgia is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

To learn more about our work in Georgia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].