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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 25
First tranche to support reforms released from European Commission

On 20 March the European Commission released the first payment of ˆ5million to Georgia’s budget under the Financing Agreement signed last December between Head of the EC Delegation Ambassador Per Eklund and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze. The overall assistance under the Financing Agreement amounts to Euros 15 million during 2009-2010 (an additional ˆ1 million has been set aside for complementary assistance projects). All this assistance is intended to strengthen the rule of law and human rights protection through support for criminal justice reforms.

This is the first time the European Commission is using a relatively new instrument – Budget Support - to assist with criminal justice reforms in Georgia. This instrument specifies certain conditions (general as well as specific) which have to be met by the Government to allow for the transfer of funds. The release of the first ˆ5 million indicates that the Government has met the initial requirement of the Financing Agreement and established an Intergovernmental Criminal Justice Sector Management Commission (and associated working groups) which should be a transparent and inclusive body for the coordination and management of sector reform, with membership drawn from across Government and independent bodies such as the Public Defender’s Office, civil society and the donor community.

In addition to transferring funds to the state budget through Budget Support, the European Commission actively supports the criminal justice sector through assistance projects granted to the Ministry of Justice, the Public Defender's Office and civil society. Under EU financing 10 NGO are working in areas related to the criminal justice reform process.

To strengthen the rule of law and human rights protection in Georgia reform of the criminal justice sector is one of the priority areas for the Government and is ingrained in the Strategy for the Reform of Criminal Legislation of Georgia, elaborated with the support of the European Union (EUJUST Themis). (Interpressnews)

IMF to allocate next tranche to Georgia

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has allocated the next tranche of assistance for Georgia. As Edward Gardner, the new Permanent Representatives of IMF to Georgia, stated at a press conference yesterday, the Georgian Government can immediately claim the delivered sum of USD 187million.

The Fund approved an 18-month economic assistance project for Georgia in September of last year, envisaging macroeconomic support. The project involves the allocation of SDR 477.1 mln, which equals USD 705 mln. Last year Georgia received USD 205 mln of this sum. Edward Gardner said that Georgia had met the IMF’s demands and based on this the decision to allocate the second tranche was taken.

Edward Gardner stressed that the economic situation in the world is very hard and remarked that against this background Georgia enjoys advantages compared with several other countries – namely the aid packages of donors and reforms it has undertaken – which have raised faith in the country. (Interpressnews)

Mikheil Khubutia appointed as advisor of Yuriy Luzhkov

Mikheil Khubutia, President of the Union of Georgians in Russia and a member of the Edinaya Rossia (United Russia) Party has been appointed an advisor to Yuriy Luzhkov, Mayor of Moscow, in the sphere of public affairs. Russian news agencies reported this information, adding that Luzhkov has already signed a corresponding decree.

Khubutia was born in 1966 in Zugdidi in western Georgia. He is famous for making anti-Georgian Government statements in the Russian Federation. (Rustavi 2)

New movement – ‘Why’ - Established

A new movement called ‘Why’ has been established. Its members will hold their first meeting in the underground at Freedom Square and introduce their action plan to society.

As Interpressnews was informed by one of the founders of the organization, Irakli Kordzaia, ‘Why’ is not associated with any other political party. Up to 100 people of different ages and professions are members of it.

“People often have this question. Why was the economy given to Russia? Why are there so many unsolved murder cases? Why we were defeated in the war? These and other questions people are asking the Government. The population has already delivered its verdict on this Government by asking this question,” Kordzaia stated. (Interpressnews)