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Venice Commission Ready to Cooperate with Georgian Government for better Judiciary

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 14
Venice Commission of the Council of Europe is ready to help Georgia to draft criteria for the selection and appointment of judges, which have become one of the top issues over the past several months.

“Appointment of judges until their retirement based on clear and transparent criteria and procedures is an essential condition for the independence of the judiciary, - President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio, says in a statement posted on the official website of the Commission.

He expressed readiness to cooperate with the Georgian authorities in this direction.

As the civil sector, opposition and the ruling party have different views how to settle the judge-related row, which started in December of 2018, the Georgian Dream ruling party top members stated that they would ask the help of the Venice Commission.

On 24 December 2018 eight of the High Council of Justice out of 15, the body which is responsible for selection and appointment of judges, supported ten judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia without previous warning of non-judge members of the council.

Non-judge members of the council Anna Dolidze and Nazi Janezashvili described the list as “shameful” and an “attempt to kill the Georgian judiciary,” as according to them, many on the list were affiliated with the United National Movement government and unfair verdicts.

Georgian NGOs have called upon parliament not to approve the list, as based on the new constitution the list must be supported by the majority of lawmakers.

The NGOs also say that the rules must be changed which allows powerful judges to make individual decisions.

“The process of appointing judges in the Supreme Court must be suspended until the rules are changed,” 12 NGOs say.

Secretary of HCJ Giorgi Mikautadze, who was on the list of judges sent to parliament, claimed that all the judges on the list were worthy with years of experience.