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Amendments to the Prosecutor's Office approved by Parliament

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, July 27
A draft law regarding the selection and election of the chief prosecutor for a non-renewable six-year term was passed by Parliament with the first reading on July 24.

The bill, which has yet to be adopted with its second and third readings, envisages more complicated procedures for electing the Chief Prosecutor introducing Parliament and new body, Prosecutorial Council, with the government and Justice Minister still having a significant role in the process.

The initial bill, which was drafted by the Justice Ministry, has been revised after Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, the Venice Commission, unveiled its preliminary opinion on these legislative amendments earlier this month.

Most of the recommendations from the Venice Commission have been reflected in the revised bill, but not all of them – the government’s strong role in the process of nomination of a candidate for Chief Prosecutor still remains in place.

Selection of a candidate for the Chief Prosecutor, according to the bill, starts with the Justice Minister holding consultations with representatives of the civil society and academic circles.

The Justice Minister then nominates three candidates to the Prosecutorial Council; the Minister will then have to explain the choice.

The Prosecutorial Council then has to endorse one of the three candidates with 2/3 majority votes – that is support of at least 10 council members; in case of a deadlock, the Justice Minister will have to name new candidates.

The Parliament Speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said on July 24 that he would ask the Venice Commission to again review the revised bill after it was passed with its first reading.

Lawmakers from the opposition UNM and Free Democrats parties refused to support the bill, arguing that the proposal will not secure depoliticization of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The bill is likely to be further amended during its second reading, which is expected in Parliament’s autumn session.

According to the Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, amendments are needed to attain full Visa Liberalisation with the EU.