The U.S. Embassy to Tbilisi reacted critically to the Parliament’s vote concerning the lifetime appointment of Supreme Court judges.
An official release lists cases where the Embassy and other international partners have voiced concerns regarding the process of appointments.
“In May we expressed disappointment at Parliament’s adoption of selection procedures that failed to incorporate many of the recommendations of the Venice Commission, OSCE/ODIHR, and the U.S., EU, and Council of Europe missions in Tbilisi,” the U.S. Embassy stated.
Subsequently, the Embassy said, the candidate selection process in the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) “lacked transparency and resulted in a slate of nominees that did not fully represent the best qualified candidates.”
Welcoming the open hearings at the Parliament’s Legal Issues Committee, the release said “a number of candidates were unable to demonstrate sufficiently their legal expertise or a commitment to impartiality.”
“We regret the list of candidates approved in Parliament today includes such nominees,” it notes.
Stressing that “judicial independence ensures the rule of law, safeguards democracy, and is a cornerstone of economic growth,” the U.S. Embassy calls on Parliament and relevant authorities “to address the identified shortcomings in the Supreme Court judge selection process before the selection of additional candidates” in order “to instill greater confidence in Georgia’s judicial system.”
The Embassy also calls “on all parties” to stay calm and engage in “respectful and constructive” dialogue.