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Vice-Parliament Speaker: List of Lifetime Judges Will Not Be Supported

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 14
Georgia’s Vice-Parliament Speaker and the member of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, Tamar Chugoshvili, says that the controversial list of Supreme Court lifetime judges, submitted by the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) in late December to the parliament, will not be approved.

Chugoshvili made the statement in response to the comments of Secretary of the High Council of Justice, Giorgi Mikautadze, who said that each of the submitted candidates is ready to be fully transparently subjected to any criteria and regulations.

“I do not know what the HCOJ thinks, and what they learnt from the recent developments, but I am sure the submitted list will not be approved,” the Vice-Speaker said.

Chugoshvili explained that the parliament will set up some criteria for the selection of the judge candidates and only after this the HCOJ can choose necessary 28 candidates for the Supreme Court of Georgia.

On January 12, Giorgi Mikautadze met with the Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze.

After the meeting, the HCOJ Secretary stated that already submitted list cannot be withdrawn, adding the candidates agree to be subjected to all criteria, that the parliament sets.

“I had a conversation with each of them and everyone's position is that they are ready to be subjected to the new criteria…There is no procedure to withdraw the list. Accordingly, if new criteria are developed, we are ready to absolutely transparently get involved in the open process," Mikautadze said.

He added it is wrong to make general accusations against the submitted candidates.

“It is time to be specific if there are specific allegations against individual candidates,” he said.

The High Council of Justice, a body responsible for the appointment of judges, nominated the list of 10 judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia without previous consultations on 24 December.

The list was criticized by NGOs and two non-judge members of the council who claim the submitted judges were “linked with politically motivated cases and biased judiciary.”

The NGOs have asked parliament to withdraw the list and refine the procedures for selection of judges.

The majority said that accelerated discussions of the issue are not on the agenda, adding the parliament will discuss the issue during the spring session.