The organisation and functions of the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Database of the CAHDI "The organisation and functions of the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs" - contribution of Georgia - 01/09/2014

1. What is the title, rank and position of the Legal Adviser?

(September 2014)

The legal adviser holds the rank of Director and heads the International Law Department, hereinafter referred to as the Department, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. He/she is subordinated to one of the Deputy-Ministers of Foreign Affairs and has two Deputy Directors who also may act as a Legal Adviser if needed. The Legal Adviser holds the highest diplomatic rank - Ambassador or the Envoy. The current Legal Adviser has the diplomatic rank of envoy.

2. What are the principal functions of the OLA?

The main tasks of the Department, which in practice performs the OLA function, include:

- to bring foreign relations of Georgia in line with international legal norms, provide legal expertise of Georgia’s bilateral and multilateral international agreements and other international legal acts;
- Coordinating all the procedures concerning the conclusion of international treaties of Georgia on external and internal level;
- to ensure general surveillance over the implementation of all international agreements of Georgia, their analysis, monitoring, control, registration, systematization and preservation of originals;
- analyzing actual issues and themes of international law;
- preparing proposals on the conclusion, implementation, suspension and termination of Georgia’s international agreements;
- to implement the deposit and conservation of international agreements and concerned documentation in which Georgia is a state party;
- to perform the functions of depository in the name of Georgia;
- to ensure continuous collection, processing and updating of information on the international treaties;
- to co-ordinate the activity of the central specialized bodies and other public authorities of Georgia in order to enhance and develop the bilateral and multilateral legal framework;
- Whether necessary, participating in the process of preparing the materials necessary for representation of Georgia in international judicial bodies;
- Coordinating the elaboration process of reports envisaged by multilateral international treaties to which Georgia is a state party.

3. Please give a brief description of staff employed by the OLA, including overseas staff. What is the distribution of posts between men and women within the OLA and what category of staff do they respectively belong to?

The staff employed by the Department consists of 10 persons: Director, 2 Deputies, 2 Heads of division, one Counselor, 2 First Secretaries and 2 Third Secretaries. One employer is working on the base of contract.

Staff consists of lawyers who are specialized in the field of international law. All members have at least completed Master studies and several of them are currently making PhD researches. Moreover, two employees of the department are lecturers.

Distribution of posts in the Department between men and women are as follows: 2 men and 8 women. Third secretary from the division of bilateral international treaties represents an ethnic minority of Kurdish people living in Georgia.

4. Are there any specific recruitment and promotion policies, provisions and/or quotas to ensure non-discrimination and equal opportunities, e.g. for the underrepresented sex, for persons with disabilities or for persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities or of immigrant origin?

Recruitment and promotion policies are prescribed by legislation of Georgia and in the regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Department of Human Resources coordinates the procedure of examinations which have to be taken in order to be recruited in the diplomatic staff of the Ministry. It also keeps detailed account of every employee’s working experience in order to assess his/her promotion eligibility.

5. Is OLA staff trained on gender equality issues and are these issues mainstreamed into the OLA’s work?

As long as the Department performs the functions of coordinator in the field of international human rights treaties reporting procedures, its staff has an experience in different spheres in this regard. In particular, division for multilateral international treaties and legal analyze actively participates in the reporting process of the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Two employees of the division attended the Workshop on CEDAW concluding observations and UPR recommendations at Istanbul, on 9-11 April 2014.

6. Briefly describe the organisation and structure of the OLA.

The International Law Department is headed by a Director and two Deputies. There are two divisions the one of which deals with the issues concerning multilateral international treaties and legal analysis and other one is responsible for bilateral international treaties. Each division consists of four diplomats which are supervised by two deputies.

7. What is the OLA’s place within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

The Department is one of the 18 departments of MFA. The tasks of the Department are determined by the Ministry’s Regulations and Law on International Treaties of Georgia, and are being carried out under the supervision of the Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs.

8. What are the main contacts of the OLA within Government?

The Department deals with other ministries and governmental bodies on daily basis on legal matters concerning bilateral and multilateral legal issues. Therefore, all international legal issues and other instruments concluded by Georgia have to be approved by the Department through the comprehensive procedure which is prescribed by the Georgian legislation and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

9. Please describe the relations of the OLA with lawyers in private practice, academics and legal institutions.

The Department is in frequent contact with academics and legal institutions on matters of public international, treaty and diplomatic and consulate law. The current Director and Deputy-Director give lectures on the public international law, treaty law and diplomatic and consulate law in different universities and draw up curriculum for Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry.

10. Please provide a brief bibliography on the OLA, if available.