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Prime Minister announces new stage of justice reform

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 13
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, has announced that very soon the third stage of the country's justice reforms will be launched in the legislative body.

The PM stressed that the Government and Parliament, with significant public involvement, will provide a high-level justice system that will be in full line with European standards.

The civil sector says they are ready to get involved in the process and provide their views in terms of the reforms.

Meanwhile, the United National Movement opposition keeps stating that the current justice system is “controlled by the ruling Georgian Dream authorities and ex-Prime Minister, the founder of the Georgian Dream team, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili”.

Justice reforms were initiated by the Georgian Dream leadership after the 2012 Parliamentary Elections, when the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year rule of the United National Movement.

The third stage of the reform should have been discussed under the eighth and previous Parliament of Georgia; however, the process was postponed, and now the ninth Parliament of Georgia will have to adopt the changes.

The third stage of the reforms includes sharing of cases between judges via electronic forms, which will exclude the possibility of issues of corruption or other risks of illegalities during case-sharing processes.

Herewith, the third wave of the reform must provide clear rules and criteria for selecting judges.

The head of the court will also allegedly be deprived of launching disciplinary proceedings against judges; an institute of an independent inspector would be tasked to deal with such issues.

The High Council of Justice, an independent body created to co-ordinate the judiciary system, will have to act more openly and transparency.

The draft amendments for the third wave of the justice reform also envisage an increased role of the Supreme Court during the judicial process.

The NGO Transparency International Georgia says they are ready to be actively involved in the discussions for the third wave of the reform; however, they believe the process must not end with the third wave, as after adoption of the third wave changes, there would be a need for further reforming of the system.

Members of the United National Movement opposition are sceptical over systemic changes in the judiciary system. They stress the system has been used by the ruling team to send former government officials to prison and fight against the media, referring to the court trials of private broadcaster Rustavi 2.