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Working Group on Judicial Reform Kicks Off First Meeting

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The Parliament’s working group on judicial reform held its first meeting in Tbilisi on January 27 under the chairmanship of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze.

The working group unites members of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party and the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), as well as the representatives of opposition parties. A group of civil society organizations announced last week that they will boycott the process.

Two non-judge members of HCoJ, Nazibrola Janezashvili and Anna Dolidze, quit the January 27 meeting in sign of protest following rejection of their calls for changing the working group format.

“I will be ready to participate in the group only after relevant procedures are developed for ensuring that our voices are heard. Otherwise, [our participation] will be nothing but wasting our time,” said Anna Dolidze.

Nazibrola Janezashvili, another non-judge member of the High Council, added that she could not deliberate on selection criteria and procedures together with those who endorsed the controversial list of Supreme Court candidates.

Representatives of the United National Movement and the European Georgia left the working group meeting as well.

“We do not see any point in discussing any proposals in this format; we offered setting participation quotas, but our suggestion was declined. I hope the format will be changed before the next meeting,” said Otar Kakhidze of the European Georgia.

MP Tina Bokuchava of the United National Movement, echoed the message, saying the working group has to involve all stakeholders who “have been working for many years for establishing a functioning judiciary in our country.”

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze commented on the matter as well. He said the working group deliberated on general principles of selection procedures and criteria, and noted that the process would continue at upcoming meetings

The working group was held amid CSO-led rally, who gathered outside the meeting venue to protest against “clannish rule” in the judiciary, and called for the resignation of those members of the HCoJ who endorsed the 10-member list of Supreme Court nominees.

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