The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Monday, December 4
Parliament Elects Georgian Dream Loyalist as New Constitutional Court Judge

(TBILISI) – With a majority of voted cast, Georgia’s parliament selected former High Council Justice member Eva Gotsiridze to serve as a new Constitutional Court judge.

Gotsiridze replaces outgoing justice Lali Papiashvili, whose term in office is to expire later this month after serving as the court’s vice president since November 2016.

The nomination of ruling Gotsiridze has roused a significant amount of controversy since her name surfaced as a replacement for Papiashvili, with opposition and rights groups accusing the ruling Georgian Dream of picking a staunch party loyalist instead of an impartial candidate to fill a key position in the nation’s highest court.

“I would go so far as to say that this is the final step towards the full subordination and politicization...of the Constitutional Court,” said Roman Gotsiridze, an MP from the opposition United National Movement party and no relation to Eva Gotsiridze, in the wake of the parliament’s vote. "With an obedient (GD) party person joining the court...we are coming to the point where it will be controlled by the executive branch of the government," he added.

In addition to accusations that Gotsiridze is an unwavering supporter of the Georgian Dream, her critics claims her failed campaign in 2013 to be named as Georgia’s representative to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) disqualifies her from being named to the bench.

The ECHR released a statement after Gotsiridze failed to secure a spot in the Strasbourg-based court saying she failed to meet the basic requirements to qualify.

“Gotsiridze’s nomination clearly demonstrates that having loyal political appointees on the court is the goal of the Georgian Dream,” said Irakli Abesadze from the opposition party European Georgia.

Three of Georgia’s nine-member Constitutional Court are elected by the national parliament. The remaining six are appointed by the president and supreme court.

Georgia’s AIDS Center Officially Lists 6,711 Cases in the Country

(TBILISI) Georgia’s AIDS Centre registered 577 new cases of HIV and AIDS for the first 11 months of the year.

The registered number of registered AIDS and HIV cases in Georgia currently stands at 6,711 people, 5,013 of which are men and 1,698 are women.

The center’s director, Tengiz Tsertsvadze, said 44 percent of the registered cases contacted the virus after having unprotected sex and 43 percent of the victims contacted HIV through intravenous drug use.

Georgia’s HIV/AIDS numbers remain low, accounting for 0.18% of the total population of 3.7 million people. The statistics, however, show a rise in the total amount of new victims who do not practice safe sex.

The Georgian public’s understanding of health related issues, including the basic concepts of how HIV and AIDS are contracted and develop, remains low.

The lack of proper sex-education courses and cultural attitudes that are pushed by the powerful Orthodox Church and conservative activist groups - who regard the topic as a taboo - leaves Georgia exposed to the possibility of a severe spike in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the years to come.