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New judges urged to serve justice

By Ernest Petrosyan
Tuesday, November 25
After passing several complex exams a number of new judges have taken their oaths at a ceremony at the Supreme Court attended by President Mikheil Saakashvili. In his speech to the new judges, Saakashvili focused on the court system but also spoke generally about state institutions, highlighting their continued vulnerability.

Six judges took oaths in the Supreme Court of Georgia, Giorgi Ebanoidze, Giorgi Arevadze, Nikoloz Marsagishvili, Dimitri Gvritishvili, Ioseb Baghaturia and Giorgi Tkavadze. Saakashvili said he hoped that the new judges to serve only justice and the protection of human rights.

“This is my second and last Presidential term; of course I am not going to die after [the Presidency], but I am thinking what my friends and I should bequeath the country. Aside from the major task, Georgia’s unification, another of the same importance is the building of our democratic institutions,” said Saakashvili. “All the institutions in Georgia are too vulnerable to subjective factors,” he added. “Of course personal factors will never be fully ruled out, but our institutions should no longer be conditioned by the wilfulness of individuals, and that is a situation which is not yet fully established in Georgia.”

He also said that before the Rose Revolution the court system had not been properly developed and was therefore treated improperly. The population did not have any faith in the unqualified and corrupt court system, said Saakashvili. However, now public confidence in the court system was increasing every year, though it still remained lower than that in the police. Saakashvili said that some of the authorities’ recent initiatives would help to fill that gap, including the appointment of judges for life and allowing opposition representation at the Supreme Council of Justice, the body overseeing the judicial system and the introduction of a jury system. The latter is expected to come into force from 2009. To begin with, juries will only be used in homicide trials in the Tbilisi courts.