Georgia’s Judges, Ambassador Degnan Kick Off USAID Program to Strengthen Courts

TBILISI — This evening, Ambassador Kelly Degnan will address an assembly of Georgia’s judges to celebrate the launch of the new U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Rule of Law program, one of the dozens of programs administered by a spectrum of offices and agencies in the U.S. Embassy in support of Georgia’s democratic development. We invited all of Georgia’s more than 340 judges to attend the virtual event, and two U.S. federal judges will provide remarks as well. Nino Kadagidze, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia and Chair of the High Council of Justice will also participate.  

The new program focuses on increasing people’s access to justice through their local court. It will partner with courts and legal professionals to improve their engagement within their communities. The program will be active throughout Georgia for the next five years. 

Ambassador Degnan said, “I am excited to kick off the latest USAID program focused on strengthening the rule of law in Georgia. Rule of law, through the administration of justice by judges and the court system, is vital to upholding and improving both citizen-centered democracy and economic growth that benefits all corners of society. The cornerstone of engagement and trust between the courts and the community they serve is the ability of qualified judges to make reasoned, independent decisions, free from pressure and corruption. It is inspiring that so many of Georgia’s judges will attend this event and be partners in this program: the program’s success–as well as success for rule of law–depends on these women and men.  It is a distinct honor to lead this Embassy, which, through our more than 30 offices and agencies, supports Georgia’s democratic path toward the Euro-Atlantic family of nations.” 

A recording of Ambassador Degnan’s full remarks will be available after the event’s conclusion. 

The program will also work with other stakeholders to strengthen the legal environment. It will enhance legal education and law school accreditation in partnership with universities. Working with the Parliament of Georgia and the Public Defender’s Office, oversight of Georgia’s judiciary will be strengthened. The program will facilitate ties between civil society organizations and judicial institutions to improve the quality of court services, with a focus on services for members of underrepresented groups. The program will also promote mediation and alternative dispute resolution to ease the burden on Georgia’s courts. 

The new program builds upon a foundation of longstanding past and current U.S. support to Georgia’s courts. For more than two decades, USAID has worked closely with Georgia’s legal professionals and judicial institutions to promote the rule of law. The U.S. Department of Justice and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement office currently work closely with Georgian courts and lawyers to uphold standards of excellence and promote best practices such as continuous trials so that justice is provided in an expedient manner. 

 This new $25 million investment by the American People, through USAID, in rule of law in Georgia is just the latest example of the 30-year U.S.-Georgian partnership. Since 1992, USAID has invested more than $1.8 billion in Georgia’s resilience, economic growth, and democratic progress. The USAID Rule of Law Program is implemented in partnership with East-West Management Institute, Inc.