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Opposition critical over the selection of candidates for ECtHR

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 30
The European Georgia opposition party has criticized the government for postponing the nomination of the selected candidates for the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) until July 1 instead of April.

Member of the opposition Otar Kakhidze claims the current authorities lack the relevant skills to select the judges in line with high standards and transparently.

The government issued a relevant decree and the opposition made a comment in the wake of the Georgian candidates’ failure at the ECtHR several months ago.

The government had to undergo the process again, as the current Georgian judge’s nine-year term in the Strasbourg Court expired in January 2017.

Kakhidze claims the government is failing to organize the competition for the candidates' selection.

“I hope eventually the government will organize the competition and won’t damage the country’s image again,” Kakhidze said.

The government dismissed the opposition’s criticism.

They stress the commission which selected the candidates for the European Court was composed of qualified people from different fields.

One of the candidates for the position who was rejected by the ECtHR, Georgia’s Deputy Justice Minister Aleksandre Baramidze, says the people who were among those responsible to discuss the qualification of Georgian candidates in Strasbourg had “different political views”.

Another rejected candidate, Eva Gotsiridze, claims it was the Georgian civil sector’s and the ombudsman’s negative moves that caused the rejection of the Georgian candidates.

In February last year, a special commission selected five potential candidates, one of whom would represent Georgia in the ECtHR, to monitor breaches of human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 Council of Europe (CoE) member states.

Forty-seven people applied to represent Georgia at the ECtHR.

From these applicants, the commission selected five of the best candidates according to their qualifications and knowledge of either English or French.

The five shortlisted candidates were current Deputy Minister of Justice Aleksandre Baramidze, Giorgi Badashvili, a Georgian lawyer at the ECtHR, Anna Dolidze, Eva Gotsiridze and human rights expert Nana Mchedlidze.

After the commission named the nominees, it was up to the Government to make a final decision on who would represent Georgia in the European court.

Later, the Government selected three nominees, Baramidze, Gotsiridze and Badashvili and sent their nominations to the Court.

However, the Court did not select even a single candidate for the position.

The commission was headed by Georgia’s Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani, and composed of Deputy Foreign Minister Khatuna Totladze, the Government’s Parliamentary Secretary Shalva Tadumadze, head of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission Eka Beselia, deputy head of the Supreme Court of Georgia Mzia Todua, Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, representative of the Bar Association of Georgia Zaza Khatiashvili, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University Irakli Burduli, and Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary representative Ana Natsvlishvili.

This is a very unpleasant fact and some people think that representatives of former Georgian leadership participated in it. So, that they recommended to the European Parliament members to reject all Georgian candidates.