In July 2010, changes were introduced to the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia. Along with this change, the mechanism of diversion and mediation for juveniles was enforced for juveniles who are in conflict with the law.
If the investigation has been launched on the case, and there is grounded presumption, (evidential standard necessary for the criminal prosecution) that juvenile committed less grave crime, prosecutor is authorized to exercise discretionary power not to commence / drop criminal prosecution and use diversion and mediation program. Unity of the below circumstances is the precondition for applying diversion and mediation program:
a) Juvenile committed less grave crime first time;
b) Juvenile has not participated in diversion and mediation program;
c) Juvenile pleads guilty and is ready to apologize before the damaged person (if there is such);
d) Juvenile (his / her ) family is ready to compensate for the damage.
e) Based on the internal belief and taking into account real interests of a juvenile, there is no public interest of commencing criminal prosecution, or continue already commenced prosecution.
Diversion program is applied only in case of unity of less grave crimes. Diversion shall be applied for group crime (and not crime committed by an organized group) only in case if it falls under grave crime category just because it was committed by a group. Besides that, taking into consideration personal characteristics, quality of guilt and other circumstances, diversion might not be applied to all members of the group.
When making decision regarding diversion, prosecutor shall take into account best interests of a juvenile and shall evaluate how effective it might be for a juvenile involved in the program; what is the risk of recidivism in case of applying diversion or carrying out criminal prosecution, etc.
Preliminary decision regarding diversion is made by prosecutor after having meeting with juvenile and victim. This program may be applied at any stage of criminal prosecution, before the pretrial court session.
After coming to the preliminary decision to divert a juvenile, prosecutor gets in touch with a social worker and transfers the case of a juvenile to him / her. Social worker shall prepare bio-psycho-social portrait of a juvenile, based on that it will be determined completion of which particular conditions shall have positive effect on a juvenile and shall support his / her improvement. Based on the agreement with parties, civil agreements shall be drafted, that will be signed by a juvenile, his / her parents, prosecutor, social worker and a person damaged by the crime. Juvenile shall receive necessary services and shall be imposed to take certain obligations before the damaged person or public, in accordance with the conditions of the agreement. Juvenile shall benefit from the assistance from state and various non governmental organizations. Major aim of the program is to return a full-scale citizen to society. Thus, rehabilitation and social reintegration of a juvenile is of major importance.
Attorney of a juvenile is authorized to attend all meetings and procedures.
Social worker supervises completion of the conditions of the agreement. There is possibility that a juvenile might not use the chance he / she was granted and might brake conditions. In this case, social worker shall return case to the prosecutor. Prosecutor is authorized to restart criminal prosecution against this juvenile. Being granted this opportunity should make juvenile think about this and should ensure proper fulfillment of his / her duties.
Program was enforced on November 15, 2010. On November 19, 2010 very first juvenile was diverted. Program operates in 6 cities: Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori and Samtredia.