UNDP supports access to justice in Samtskhe-Javakheti2010-04-22
AKHALTSIKHE. 22 April 2010 – The Legal Aid Service has opened its first bureau in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia Jamie McGoldrick, and Legal Aid Service Director Irakli Kobidze attended the opening in Akhaltsikhe today.
The bureau will serve the residents of Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza, Akhalkalaki, Ninotsminda and Borjomi municipalities. Six public attorneys and consultants will provide the citizens with free consultations and legal support, as well as court representation in criminal cases.
The Legal Aid Service operates 13 sites throughout Georgia. Another centre in will be opened Akhalkalaki this year.
Speaking in Akhaltsikhe, Minister Kalmakhelidze said: “With this new bureau we will help local residents who need legal services but cannot afford it.”
The state-funded legal aid system under the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia provides legal services to all citizens, and especially to the socially and economically vulnerable. With the US $ 200 thousand project, UNDP is assisting the Legal Aid Service to expand its work throughout Georgia, to train lawyers, and to inform the public about its services.
“We launched our co-operation back in 2008, after the war, when the immediate assistance was needed to support a legal aid bureau in the Shida Kartli region,” Jamie McGoldrick said.
“We will continue our assistance to promoting a comprehensive legal aid system in Georgia, including courts representation in civil, administrative and criminal matters,” he went on to say.
Georgia adopted the Law on Legal Aid in 2007, and this state-funded service, initially run by the Ministry of Justice, was transferred to the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance in February 2009. In the future, the Legal Assistance Service aims to provide full representation in civil and administrative cases. It will also reach vulnerable citizens, national minorities and internally displaced people.
For press queries please contact:
Sophie Tchitchinadze, UNDP Georgia, +995 32 251126, 899 196907 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org
Tea Sukhishvili, Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, +995 32 312747, 877 210408 (mobile), email@example.com