Criminal justice reform in Georgia
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Sussex
Unit of AssessmentLaw
Summary Impact TypeLegal
Research Subject Area(s)
Studies In Human Society: Criminology
Law and Legal Studies: Law
Summary of the impact
Research conducted by Vogler between 1993 and 2013 on the theoretical
principles and practical modalities of global criminal-justice reform led
to specific influence on the Georgian Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) 2009,
e.g. Arts 170-176 (arrest), 196-208 (pre-trial release), 49-50
(non-compulsion of witnesses) and 219-224, 226, 231-236 (jury trial). This
was achieved through sustained and direct influence on the
criminal-justice reform process in Georgia 2002-13. In addition, following
the enactment of the new CPC, Vogler provided recommendations on
implementation, and devised and conducted training for the constitutional
court on the new CPC.
Vogler has been conducting research on criminal justice reform around the
world for the last 20 years, whilst based at Sussex. This has involved
detailed evaluation of the historical and contemporary research data as
well as personal engagement in the reform process in countries as diverse
as Kyrgyzstan, Brazil and Malawi. The outcome has been the development of
a theory of criminal justice reform, first set out in 2005, which is
intended to have a direct, practical impact on the process. It envisages
the criminal trial as the location in which disputes between the three
Aristotelian social orders (the state, the community and the individual)
can be worked out and resolved. The participation of these three elements
is associated by Vogler with the global methodologies of inquisitorial
justice, popular justice and adversarial justice respectively. His
research has traced the history of each trial mode from its origins to the
present day. As a result he is able to show that that criminal justice
reform should not (as hitherto) be based upon donor influence, treasury
demands or sheer expediency but, instead, requires a strong theoretical
basis. In short, for a criminal justice system to achieve its purpose in
resolving social conflict, none of the three social orders should be
excluded from the procedure.
This analysis has important practical implications for the design of
criminal-justice reform programmes, requiring that the three major
methodologies should be engaged sequentially but never to the exclusion of
the others. Inquisitoriality should be dominant in the pre-trial,
adversariality in the trial and popular justice in the phase of judgement.
An imbalance between these elements, or the radical exclusion of one or
other (as for example, the exclusion of adversariality in Soviet criminal
justice or popular justice from the International Criminal Court) would
therefore fatally undermine the essential function of criminal justice.
In published work, Vogler has applied this perspective to an analysis of
contemporary reform practices around the world, especially in Europe, and
to the international criminal courts.
The practical implications of this work for criminal justice reform are
- Criminal justice reform should be based on clearly articulated
principle, not on expediency or donor influence.
- There should be a balance in any given system, based on sequential
engagement through the process, between the three trial procedures: the
inquisitorial (authoritarian, forensic methods), the adversarial
(individual, rights-based forms) and popular justice (democratic
- It is important in any reform process first to identify the existing
imbalances and discontinuities between different trial modes in the
Reform measures should be aimed primarily at correcting these imbalances
at each stage.
References to the research
R1 Vogler, R. (2005) A World View of Criminal Justice.
R2 Vogler, R. (2008) Criminal Procedure in Europe. Berlin:
Duncker and Humbolt.
R3 Vogler, R. (2011) `Making international criminal procedure
work: from theory to practice', in Henham, R.J. and Findlay, M. (eds) Exploring
the Boundaries of International Criminal Justice. Aldershot:
R4 Vogler, R. (2012) `Due process', in Rosenfeld, M. and Sajo, A.
(eds) The Oxford Handbook of Constitutional Law. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 186-217.
R5 Vogler R. (2009) Report on the 2009 Draft Criminal
Procedure Code of Georgia Prepared on Behalf of the Directorate General
of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe.
Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
R6 Vogler, R. and Jokhadze, G. (2011) Plea Agreements in the
Georgian Criminal Justice System: A Utilitarian Perspective.
Tbilisi: US Embassy.
Outputs can be supplied by the HEI on request.
Details of the impact
As a result of the approach developed in his research, Vogler contributed
substantial innovations to the Georgian CPC, enacted in 2009, and provided
recommendations and training on its implementation from 2008-12. Vogler
has actively promoted this approach through numerous consultancies over
recent years, on behalf of the Council of Europe, the European Union and
the US Department of Justice. He has worked as an adviser to drafting
committees and justice ministries in many countries of Eastern Europe, the
Caucasus and Eurasia, including Ukraine (where he was awarded the national
Medal of Honour for services to the drafting committee which produced the
2012 Criminal Procedure Code). He has also been able to articulate these
principles in summer schools and training sessions to legislators and
justice officials in the region on behalf of the Organisation for Security
and Co-operation in Europe/Office for Democratic Reform and Human Rights.
But the opportunity for the most sustained and focused application of
this approach was in Georgia, during a period of rapid and radical
transition over the last decade. In 2002 this former Soviet republic was
amongst the most crime-ridden, dangerous and corrupt countries in the
world. By 2011, at the conclusion of the criminal-justice reform process
undertaken by the Sakaashvili government, it was found by the Former
Director of Crime Prevention at the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime, Jan Van Dijk, that the country had metamorphosed into one of the
safest countries in the Western world.
Items 1-3: Articulating Principle and Identifying Imbalance
In 2002, on behalf of the British Council, Vogler was the adviser to a
group of NGO/opposition activists in Tbilisi developing a critique of the
Shevardnadze government's proposed redraft of the Criminal Procedure Code
(CPC). The critique that was advanced drew on Vogler's international
research and in particular focused on the failure of the draft to address
the endemic problems of state torture and corruption and the dominance in
all stages of authoritarian Soviet-style inquisitoriality. Vogler chaired
meetings between opposition NGOs, the drafting committee and government
ministers in 2002-03 in which these critiques were forcefully made by the
opposition group. Vogler's group eventually managed to convince
representatives of the Council of Europe to withdraw their support for the
draft proposals and they were abandoned.
Item 4: Correcting the Imbalances
Criminal justice reform was at the heart of the reform agenda identified
by the new Saakashvili government after the `Rose Revolution' in 2003.
With the support of the American Bar Association and the US Department of
Justice, Vogler served as a principal overseas adviser to a small
government working group drafting the new CPC in 2005/2006 and made
numerous visits to Tbilisi to assist in the drafting process and to
present and commend the proposals to the Georgian Parliament. The
provisions on arrest (Arts 170-76), pre-trial release (Arts 5, 196-208),
and non-compulsion of witnesses (Arts 49-50) represented principled
attempts to reinvigorate adversarial elements in the pre-trial. The
establishment of jury trial (Arts 219-24, 226, 231-36) was an attempt to
introduce more popular justice in the trial phase. The innovations were
all the outcome of debates in which Vogler was able to provide extensive
data on practice elsewhere, directly from his `World View' research.
In 2009 Vogler was asked by the Council of Europe to assess the draft for
conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights and to develop
further critiques which were presented at the `Experts Review Panel on the
Georgian CPC' in Paris in February 2009 and which led to a number of
amendments. The CPC was finally enacted by the Georgian Parliament in
November 2009 and, in December 2010, Vogler was invited by the Council of
Europe to present recommendations on the implementation of the Code to the
Georgian Justice Minister and representatives of the Ministry of Justice
at a round-table meeting in Strasbourg. These recommendations were based
substantively on Vogler's `World View' research [R1].
In January 2011, on behalf of an American Bar Association project, Vogler
chaired a meeting with the Georgian Justice Minister and Justice Ministry
Officials in Batumi, Georgia, on changes to the Plea-Bargaining system.
Between 2008-12, Vogler devised and conducted annual summer-school
training for the Constitutional Court on the principles of the new CPC.
All these interventions have been directly informed by the research
conducted for the `World View' [R1] and `CPE' [R2] projects and these data
facilitated an evaluation of the proposals which has had a direct impact
on the final CPC text and its implementation. He continues to work for the
new Ivanishvili administration on the reform of the Criminal Code,
visiting Tbilisi for ministerial round-table meetings in December 2011 and
Sources to corroborate the impact
The following two sources corroborate the entirety of the case study,
including the process leading to the 2009 reforms and Vogler's involvement
with implementation and training.
C1 Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia
C2 Head of Georgian Civil Service Bureau