On June 19, a significant event took place in the city of Marneuli at the Center for Democratic Engagement. With the valuable support of the USAID Rule of Law Program and in collaboration with NGOs, Prevention for Progress and Civic Engagement and Activism Center, the first meeting was conducted with the local residents of Marneuli, aiming to enhance access to the court system. The meeting saw the active participation of 18 community members and two dedicated volunteers.
During the gathering, the project’s expert and volunteers provided crucial information to representatives from diverse community groups. They covered topics such as the rights individuals possess in court, where to locate ready-made claim forms for court applications, the rights one has as a party in court proceedings, and the availability of free legal assistance when needed.
Importantly, the project representatives also gathered valuable insights from the participants about the challenges they face when dealing with the court system. Several issues related to court accessibility were identified during the information meeting, including the need for competent interpreters, the concern over disproportionate punishments in cases of violence against women, the discrepancy between the gravity of the crime committed and the severity of the sentence, and the necessity for free legal assistance. Participants also raised concerns about the protection of confidentiality within the judicial system.
To empower the attendees further, a helpful guide prepared by a legal expert was distributed, containing concise information on various judicial matters. Participants were given the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers on topics that piqued their interest.
The meeting garnered attention from the local media, with coverage provided in both Georgian and Azerbaijani languages by Radio Marneul and interpress.ge. Speaking to the media, Rashan Ziadaliev, a representative of the local partner organization, stated, “Within this meeting, we provided the population with information on how the court system works, what processes are required to initiate legal proceedings, and the various stages of court processes throughout Georgia. Additionally, we discussed the accessibility of the court system to citizens.”
This meeting marks the beginning of a comprehensive project, as seven more such gatherings are planned. The upcoming meetings will not only be held in regional centers but will also extend to villages situated far from the center of Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities. The project aims to foster increased awareness and understanding of the court system, ensuring that citizens can access justice effectively and equitably.