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Opposition Voices Initiative Regarding Procedures of Choosing Judges

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 14
Parliamentary minority European Georgia has voiced an initiative regarding the procedures of choosing judges.

The initiative envisages creation of a working group with the Legal Issues Committee of Parliament, which will thoroughly examine each judge candidate.

The party also says that not only the Judge members of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), but also non-judge members should be authorized to nominate candidates.

“Judge members of the HCOJ should be deprived of monopoly to nominate the candidates to the Parliament. This right should be given to non-judge members of the HCOJ too in order to let the parliament choose judges from a larger list and not only from the one, filtered by the HCOJ,” European Georgia member Otar Kakhidze stated at the press conference.

According to him, another component of the initiative is that the selection of judges of the Supreme Court in the Parliament should be reached by the consensus of three-fourths of MPs, which will provide a broader political consensus.

The issue became controversial after the High Council of Justice nominated 10 candidate judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia for the life tenure in late December.

The list was disapproved by the non-judge members of the HCOJ, NGOs and some members of the majority, who claimed that the presented judges were working during the previous government too and have the reputation of “biased and corrupt” judges.

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said the discussions over the issue have been postponed until spring, adding that the Parliament will define new procedures and criteria for nominating and electing judges, followed by the HCOJ endorsing an updated list of judges based on maximally open and transparent procedures.

After the increased criticism towards the list of candidates, the judges issued a statement, calling on the parliament not to consider their candidacies.

The judges claimed that “unethical and insulting” statements were made towards the nominated candidates and these statements “artificially turned into the unprecedented pressure campaign” against judicial power, where direct appeals were made regarding the dismissal of the Supreme Council of Justice and expel of the judges, including ones into the presented list.

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated in late January that the society should have a feeling that there are objective criteria and procedures for the selection of judges, adding everyone should be involved in the determination of criteria and procedures for the selection of judges.