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Georgian Bill To Delay Broader Use Of Jury Trials

  • RFE/RL's Georgian Service

Georgia's parliament is debating a bill to delay the broader use of jury trials by two years.

Hearings in the first reading of the bill backed by the ruling Georgian Dream coalition began on September 17.

There were no jury trials in the Soviet Union.

Georgia introduced them in 2011, at first limiting them to aggravated murder cases tried in Tbilisi and later adding the second largest city, Kutaisi, and the Black Sea coast city of Batumi.

The right to a jury trial for all defendants charged with crimes punishable by prison was to be introduced on October 1, 2014.

The government has proposed postponing that until October 1, 2016, citing the lack of necessary infrastructure, the "complicated" process of jury selection and the length of time jury trials can take.

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili's opposition United National Movement opposes the delay.

With reporting by