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EU, US Ambassadors to Georgia support opposition’s demand to postpone election of judges

By Veronika Malinboym
Wednesday, May 26
The US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and the ambassador of the EU Carl Harzel have expressed their support towards the moratorium on the election of judges in the to the country’s Supreme Court, as well as the appointment of non-judge members to the High Council of Justice. Both the US and the EU ambassadors state that both the elections and the appointments can only take place after the reform of the judicial system outlined in the EU-brokered agreement between the ruling party and the opposition are fully implemented.

In her address to the Parliament, US Ambassador stated that going through with the appointment would undermine the April 19 agreement and noting that such processes should occur in a new, reformed space and after the debates in which all parties can participate:

“The April 19 agreement reached by the political leaders as a result of the negotiations implies the improvement and overall independence of the judiciary. It is a time-consuming process. Georgia has been working on it for the last 20 years and there is still a lot of work to be done in order to make it more independent,” Ambassador Degnan stated.

Earlier last week, opposition MPs have also called for the moratorium claiming that the current High Council of Judges consists of 'biased judges' who undermine public’s trust and respect for the institution.

One of the current non-judge members of the Council of Justice Nazi Janezashvili stated that 4 judge candidates have already withdrawn from the Supreme Court appointment process thus speeding it up significantly:

“Last night I received information from the High Council of Justice that the last 4 candidates who had to appear for the interview have withdrawn their candidacies. From today, the members of the High Council of Justice will start evaluating the candidates, the evaluation will be written and later published on the council's website, but I will not be among the evaluators and I will refuse to participate in this process out of protest,” Nazi Janezashvili stated.