Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Judicial Resident Legal Advisor Program

Question about the event 

Ambassador Degnan:  This was a great opportunity to review and celebrate the many successes of our Resident Legal Advisor judicial program. This program began in 2018 through the Department of Justice, funded through the State Department’s Bureau of International Law Enforcement and Narcotics, INL, designed to pair up Georgian judges with American judges. This has been a phenomenal success.  We’ve had 50 Georgian judges who’ve had a chance to go on study visits to the United States, to meet with American judges, to watch trials in courtrooms, to watch jury selection, and many different experiences of observing the administration of justice in the United States. We’ve had nine American judges come to Georgia, even in the middle of the pandemic, so it was quite an accomplishment to see how justice is administered in courtrooms throughout Georgia. We’ve had thousands of judges and judicial practitioners here, trained in different trainings that were conducted in cooperation with the High Council of Justice in Georgia. That’s just the beginning. There have been so many successes, and we are looking forward to continuing this program based on suggestions from individual judges as to where they see U.S. support most useful. The idea of this program was to build the individual capacity of Georgian judges, and I think it’s been a tremendous success.

Question about an Iranian plane’s involvement in sanctions

Ambassador Degnan: Well, let me start by wishing Mtavari  a very happy third birthday. Happy birthday.  On the plane, obviously this is an example of why it’s so important that we make sure that no country, including Georgia is a backdoor for sanctions evasion.  We continue to work very closely with Georgia to make sure that there are no loopholes like this. This is how sanctions are most effective, when we all close the net and we make sure that both export controls are enforced and that sanctions are upheld.  We’ll continue to do that with our partner, Georgia.  I don’t have any particular information on the Iranian plate.

Question on Washington Post article featuring former officials calling for sanctions against some in Georgia 

Ambassador Degnan: I have not read the article, so I can’t comment on that, and I’m not in a position to comment on that. As I’ve said before, the United States does not preview our sanctions process. When sanctions are imposed, if they’re imposed, it is then available on the Treasury Department’s website. So, that is how we approach sanctions.

They’re an important tool. There are one tool, but as we’ve seen, they are very important when everyone complies with them.  That’s the point of sanctions.