New European Union mission to support the Georgian justice system (22/07/2004)

New European Union mission to support the Georgian justice system

On 22 July, 2004 the Delegation of the European Commission hosted a press conference dedicated to the start of the European Union Rule of Law Mission to Georgia titled "EUJUST THEMIS." This is the first Rule of Law mission launched by the European Union in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

This mission was initiated following an invitation from the Prime Minister of Georgia on 3 June 2004. Already on 28 June the Council adopted a decision on the EU Rule of Law mission in Georgia and on 16 July 2004 the mission was officially launched in Brussels.

With a mandate for one year, "EUJUST THEMIS" is designed to support the Georgian authorities in addressing urgent challenges in the criminal justice system and developing a co-ordinated overall approach to the reform process, in a way that fully complements current European Union assistance and other international community activities and bilateral Member State initiatives in the Rule of Law area. To ensure the mission’s successful cooperation with the relevant bodies in Georgia, on 10 July 2004 Prime Minister Zhvania issued Order N 74 on the provision of assistance to the mission’s activities.

On the occasion of the appointment of the Head of Mission Ms Sylvie Pantz, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, to whom the mission reports, made the following comments:

"The launch of the "Rule of Law" mission in Georgia, in response to the Georgian authorities' request for support in this key area, further illustrates the European Union's commitment to reform and stability in Georgia and the South Caucasus region. I will work closely with the Head of mission and with the Georgian government to make sure the mission is a success."

The mission "EUJUST THEMIS" headed by Ms Sylvie Pantz comprising ten experienced international Rule of Law experts will be co-located in the following Georgian bodies: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, General and District Prosecutors Offices in Tbilisi, Council of Justice, Supreme Court and Public Defender’s Office.

The experts will undertake the following tasks:

  • Guidance for Georgia's new criminal justice reform strategy, including support in the planning of new legislation, for example the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • Support to the Georgian authorities co-ordinating judicial reform and anti-corruption measures.
  • Support to international as well as regional co-operation in the area of criminal justice.

The launch of this mission, the first of its kind under the European Security and Defence Policy, is also an important step in the development of the civilian part of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). It is also the first ESDP mission outside the Western Balkans and Africa.

Ms Sylvie Pantz, the Head of Mission, is a French national born in Paris in 1951. A magistrate with national and international experience, she was in particular international member of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002-04), Director of Judicial Affairs, co-Minister of Justice, UNMIK, Kosovo (1999-2001) and Investigations Commander in the Office of the ICTY Prosecutor, The Hague (1996-1999).

Jonas Jonsson – Political Adviser
tel.: (95 32) 04 37 63 ext.: 223