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President’s Pick in Justice Council Files Lawsuit against the Body

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 7
(TBILISI)--The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) has filed a lawsuit against the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), a body responsible for unbiased judiciary, with the name of the Council’s non-judge member Anna Dolidze.

Dolidze claims that the High Council of Justice “illegally deprived her of the constitutional right” to attend the interviews of those judges who applied for life appointment.

The Young Lawyers’ Association will demand the annulment of the decision and declaring it as unfair.

If the court’s meets Dolidze’s demand, the High Council of Justice may not be able to use the same measure against its “undesirable members” in the future.

Dolidze, former head of GYLA and ex-Deputy Defence Minister, is President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s only pick in the Council.

Prior to interviews with judges who wished to serve lifetime, Dolidze said some of the judges were “the slaves” of former officials and the court system needed to be free from such people.

Hearing the statement 14 judges out of 50 demanded that Dolidze must not have participated in their interviews “due to the interest conflict, as she would not have been impartial.”

The High Council of Justice fulfilled the demand of the judges.

The High Council of Justice underwent major changes in 2013, under the Georgian Dream leadership.

According to the amendments, the High Council of Justice is now composed of 15 members.

Eight members are elected by the self-governing body of judges, five members -by the Parliament of Georgia and one member is appointed by the president.

The HCOJ was created to coordinate the judiciary system and to promote the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary.

The main functions of the HCOJ include the organization of qualification exams of judges, selection and appointment of judges of trial and appellate courts, disciplinary proceedings, legislative drafting and analytical work, quality management and relationship with the public.

The latest amendments in the law enable judges to be appointed for life. For this, they have to address the High Council of Justice and receive consent of the majority of its members.

Judges were appointed for 10 years before the amendments.