The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting 40 local civil society organizations, announced at a press conference on January 24 that it would quit the Parliament’s working group on judicial reform.
The Coalition said that the working group involves those judges and members of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), who decided last December to submit a 10-member list of candidates of the Supreme Court judges to the Parliament.
“With the current composition of the working group, we see no perspectives of continuing our presence in the group,” Sulkhan Saladze of Georgian Young Lawyers Association said.
“There is no time to join the Parliament’s game, which is doomed to failure from the very beginning and which may aim at diverting attention from the entire process,” he added.
Sopho Verdzeuli of the Human Rights Monitoring Center said that the working group involves those people, who spared no efforts to achieve lifetime appointments for desirable people.
“We fail to see any resource for discussing the revival of the judiciary together with those people, who did their utmost to tailor the entire process to their own interests,” she said.
The Coalition believes that the current composition of the HCoJ “no longer enjoys public trust.” Therefore, as the group claims, all those judges, as well as non-judge members of HCoJ who voted for submitting the list of candidates of the Supreme Court judges to the Parliament should resign.
The Coalition notes that the candidates of the Supreme Court judges should be nominated only after the renewal of the HCoJ composition and adoption of relevant legislative amendments.
The Coalition members said that the selection process should be based on three major principles:
- Ensuring merit-based approach;
- Transparency and openness of selection process;
- Carrying out objective and impartial process.
“It is essentially important to guarantee by law that those persons who have no judicial experience are eligible to hold the positions of the Supreme Court judges,” the Coalition said.