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High Council of Justice Avoids “undesirable” member

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 8
(TBILISI)--The High Council of Justice (HCOJ), an independent body responsible for fair judiciary in Georgia, avoided its member during the interviews with judges, who had stated that the court system should be freed from biased judges.

Anna Dolidze, the only member in the Council appointed by President Giorgi Margvelashvili, stated before interviewing of the judges ,who applied for lifetime appointment, that some of the judges must not stay in the system.

Dolidze, who had served as the head of Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association, deputy Defence Minister and president’s parliamentary secretary, claimed that many judges were still influenced by former and current state officials.

Dolidze referred to the judges as “the remnants” of former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, who served under the United National Movement leadership.

Revaz Nadaraia, one of 17 judges who applied for life appointment, asked the High Council of Justice to avoid Dolidze during the interview.

“Dolidze stated that the judges are remnants of a former official. She would be unfair during the interview and in the process of assessing our qualification,” Nadaraia said.

The majority of the Council, composed of 15 members in total, met the appeal and Dolidze was deprived of the possibility to attend the interview.

Dolidze says if the judges retain the right to appeal to the Council to avoid some members during the interviews, the system will remain unhealthy.

“The judges and the Council have used the right to get rid of the Council members they disliked or still dislike,” Dolidze said.

Secretary of the High Council of Justice Giorgi Mikautadze stated that Dolidze’s “political statements are hindering the effective work of the Council.”

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.