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CSOs Concerned over Suspension of Chief Justice Selection Process

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The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, which unites around 40 Georgian civil society organizations and rights watchdogs, expressed concern over the suspension of the selection process of new Supreme Court chair, and called on the ruling party and the President “not to hinder the process artificially.”

In a statement released on September 21, the Coalition said President Giorgi Margvelashvili and the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party do not have “an adequate understanding of the gravity of the situation in the judiciary, or they have no intention of taking meaningful steps towards changing the situation.”

The CSOs stressed that following the enactment of the new Constitution, the right to nominate a candidate passes to the High Council of Justice, the body overseeing the judiciary.

“Additionally, the Chief Justice nominated and selected according to the new rules will no longer be the Chair of the HCoJ, which will significantly expand the concentration of power in the hands of the influential group of judges within the judicial system and will diminish the chances of resolving the crisis in the judiciary,” reads the statement.

The CSO coalition then called on the President and the ruling party to start “constructive consultations,” and expressed readiness to “actively engage” in the process.

Consultations on selecting the candidacy of the Supreme Court chair were launched on August 6, four days after previous Chair, Nino Gvenetadze’s resignation for health reasons. The presidential administration held several consultations, including with representatives of rights watchdogs, legal circles and political groups, but no specific candidacies had been named.

On August 21, Georgian civil society organizations turned down Margvelashvili’s offer to present a candidate for new Supreme Court chair. Earlier, on August 15, the ruling party also refused to join consultations on selecting the candidate. All these prompted President Margvelashvili to announce that he would not nominate the new Supreme Court chair.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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