A day before the planned voting in the Georgian Parliament, where lawmakers should elect new judges of the Supreme Court of Georgia from 19 candidates, the local civil society organizations call on MPs to take into consideration the Venice Commission’s recommendations and elect only the minimum number of new judges that is necessary for functioning of the Supreme Court.
The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting 40 civil society organizations, noted that “the absolute majority” of judicial candidates fail to meet relevant requirements, among them “high level of legal thinking.”
The Coalition noted that “a transparent” process of interviews with judicial candidates at the Parliament’s Legal Issues Committee “made the problems persisting in the judiciary even clearer.”
“The majority of candidates have an inadequate understanding of the challenges facing the judiciary; they fail to see previous and present problems, or have no desire to speak about these problems,” the statement reads. The Coalition also noted that a significant part of candidates openly supports the clannish rule in the judiciary and refrains from expressing a dissenting opinion.
The Coalition believes that “appointment of incompetent and dishonest candidates… will bury the chance of judicial recovery and returning public trust to it.”
The CSOs called on lawmakers to realize the responsibility laid on them and give due consideration to the knowledge, dedication to judicial values and skills of candidates.
The Coalition urged the parliamentary majority “to use the tool of negotiations with the opposition in order to reach an agreement on candidates and do not appoint them unilaterally.”
Interviews with individual candidates were launched on September 23 with the participation of the parliamentary majority, opposition and civil society organizations and lasted for a month and a half.
Committee hearing represented one of the stages of a lengthy process of judicial selection, which started in May 2019 and aimed at increasing number of the Supreme Court judges from eight to 28.
To be appointed in the Supreme Court, a candidate needs the support of the majority of lawmakers. If approved, the elected candidates will become the Supreme Court judges for lifetime tenure.
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