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President Names Supreme Court Judge Nominee

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President Giorgi Margvelashvili named incumbent deputy defense minister, Anna Dolidze, as a candidate for a vacant seat in the Supreme Court.

Dolidze, 36, was appointed as deputy defense minister in May 2015, after Tina Khidasheli was appointed as defense minister.

Before that she was a professor of law at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Dolidze chaired Tbilisi-based rights and legal advocacy group Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) in 2004-2006.

Supreme Court vacancy was created after judge Levan Murusidze was appointed by the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) as a judge of the Tbilisi Appeals Court; Murusidze’s term in office as Supreme Court judge was expiring in April.

This decision by the HCoJ in December became highly controversial as Murusidze was presiding over the case involving murder of Sandro Girgvliani, when the case was heard in the Supreme Court in 2007.

Announcing Dolidze’s nomination on February 25, President Margvelashvili said: “This is a person, who was distinguished by her principled nature in the struggle against injustice for years; a person, who [in her capacity as head of GYLA] was distinguished by her professionalism and principled, bold position in one of the high profile cases – the Girgvliani case – during the previous authorities.”

“I am convinced that the Georgian Parliament will appoint Anna Dolidze on this position in the shortest period of time,” he added.

Support of at least 76 MPs is required for a nominee to be confirmed as Supreme Court judge.

Although some MPs from the GD ruling coalition, specifically those from the Republican Party, have voiced support towards Dolidze’s nomination, it is not yet clear what will be the position of the GD parliamentary majority group as a whole.

UNM opposition party lawmakers are not likely to support the nomination.

“Anna Dolidze is a high-ranking political office holder and closely linked with the Georgian Dream [ruling coalition] and appointing such a person as Supreme Court judge raises question marks; she also has no [judicial] experience,” UNM MP Akaki Minashvili said.

Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats opposition party, which has eight members in the Parliament, said Dolidze is “a very good candidate” for the post and highlighted her “struggle for justice” when serving as head of GYLA; Alasania, however, also added that his party has yet to discuss whether to support the nomination or not.

Anna Dolidze said it’s a great honor to be nominated as the Supreme Court judge and added that it’s important to have “new, competent” individuals in the judiciary as the system is going through “the process of recovery and reforms.”

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