Q-n about the main topics of the meeting
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: This was a great opportunity to congratulate minister Bregadze on his appointment as a Minister of Justice and to hear about his priorities. We, the United States, have been working with Georgia on developing its judicial system, including its criminal justice system, for over 25 years. We have a number of programs through USAID, through the Department of Justice, through the Department of State, through many agencies of the United States, working to strengthen Georgia’s criminal justice systems, its penitentiary systems, and its court system overall. It has been an area where we have had a very strong cooperation and it was very useful to talk with the Minister about continuing that cooperation and potentially expanding into some of the priorities that he is setting for his ministry.
I think we all know very well that for democracy rule of law and the judicial system is absolutely the cornerstone of a strong democracy, and that is why the work we are doing with this Ministry of Justice is so important. We have seen, over the past year with the negotiations following last year’s elections, how very important a strong, independent judiciary is. That is why we were very pleased to see the political parties negotiate and agree on the judicial reform provisions that are included in the April 19th Agreement, and we strongly encourage all of the parties, the ruling party, the opposition parties, to fulfill that April 19th Agreement both in letter and in spirit. The point is to build a stronger, improved independent judicial system here. That is work we can all get behind and is work that is in Georgia’s best interests.