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Dismissal of Tbilisi City Court Chair to be discussed in wider format

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 25
The Chair of the Supreme Court and the Head of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), Nino Gvenetadze, is not against discussions in a wider format over the dismissal of Mamuka Akhvlediani, the former Tbilisi City Court Chair.

Gvenetadze made this statement in response to the initiative of Ana Natsvlishvili, the head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), who offered the HCoJ to discuss Akhvlediani’s case in an extended format, where all interested parties will be allowed to present and listen to the arguments of Akhvlediani and the Council members.

According to Gvenetadze, the statements of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) – which claim that Akhvlediani’s dismissal was illegal - are false and the Council Members acted within a legal framework.

“We are not against the discussions in a wider format. Moreover, our meetings are always open. The High Council will do its best to justify all its arguments. We made this decision within a legal framework,” stated Gvenetadze.

It should be mentioned that Akhvlediani was fired after the decision of the HCoJ on February 22. He was accused of poor management and of violating procedures of assigning cases to judges. The members of the High Council believe that the Tbilisi City Court Chair ignored the will of the High Council of Justice and abused his power by assuming the Council’s authority.

According to the secretary of the Council, Levan Murusidze, the Council's ability to work with Akhvlediani was compromised after he refused to cooperate with his judge colleagues and the High Council.

“The judges in the Civil Court openly speak about their problems with Akhvlediani, which had been ongoing for a long time. Akhvlediani should have acted as a judge and helped his colleges, though he never did this during his tenure,” said Murusidze.

However, Akhvlediani stated that his dismissal is linked to his recent public criticism of the the HCoJ and its activities. He believes that his dismissal is a “direct persecution” and is going to appeal the decision.

The third sector disapproves of the dismissal of Akhvlediani and says that it is a violation of the law. The Coalition of Independent and Transparent Judiciary has released a statement regarding the issue.

“We believe that the Council’s decision to dismiss the Chair grossly violates the requirements of the law and contradicts clear and unambiguous procedures set in the legislation. The decision is beyond any legal logic and reveals the abusive and inappropriate application of the law by HCOJ. This decision violates the rights and legal interests of an individual judge. It may also have repercussions for the development of the judicial system, since this decision is not only directed against Mamuka Akhvlediani, but can also be interpreted as a notice to the judiciary to avoid critical statements in the future, because such statements will trigger the use of the similar mechanisms by the Council,” reads the statement of the NGOs on the Coalition’s website.