The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting over 40 local civil society organizations (CSOs), has called on the Prosecutorial Council to ensure transparent process of selection of the Prosecutor General.
In a statement released on January 13, the coalition said that the Prosecutorial Council has already launched the process of Prosecutor General’s selection and even asked various organizations to join the process; it, however, added that “this step is important, but it is an insufficient component for transparency and legitimacy of the entire process.”
The coalition noted that according to the law, the Council will select three candidates through consultations, who will be voted individually and a candidate, who garners more votes (but no less than two thirds of all members of the Council), will become the new Prosecutor General. The CSOs said that it is unclear, how the Prosecutorial Council will make a final decision following consultations.
In particular, the format of consultations and the rules of cooperation with civil/academic community are not defined. It is obscure in which form the Council will discuss their recommendations. Moreover, the Council has not defined selection procedures and, therefore, it is unclear based on what professional criteria it will select those three candidates one of whom will later be submitted to the Parliament,” the statement reads.
Commenting on the Prosecutor General’s appointment by the Parliament, the CSOs noted that “this decision is not based on political consensus and the process is not protected against one-party influence.”
“It is also worth noting that the process of selection and appointment of chief prosecutor has already demonstrated the signs of political influence in previous cases; unfortunately, the government had failed to appoint a person with high public trust and professional reputation on this position,” the coalition said.
The CSOs claimed that making the prosecutor’s office and judiciary free from political influences is still an important challenge for Georgian democracy and political stability, adding that the chief prosecutor should be a person enjoying high public trust and professional reputation. “It, however, will remain unachievable if the selection and appointment process is carried out in line with the interests of one political group,” they added.
To ensure high public trust towards the process, the CSOs deem it important that:
- The Prosecutorial Council develops the procedures and criteria for holding a competition;
- The Prosecutorial Council substantiates in its decisions on selection and appointment of candidates that all candidates meet the criteria for holding the chief prosecutor’s position;
- The ruling party assumes the responsibility for not selecting the Prosecutor General based on narrow party interests and that the decision adopted by the Parliament is based on the consensus between various political forces.