New Independent Inspector Appointed

On January 23, the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) appointed Zurab Aznaurashvili as new Independent Inspector – responsible for uncovering possible disciplinary misconduct by judges – for a five-year term. 

According to the HCoJ, nine out of its sitting 15 members supported Aznaurashvili’s candidacy through an open ballot. 

HCoJ is in charge of overseeing the judiciary with the authority to appoint or dismiss judges, as well as to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them.

Independent Inspector has the authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings and conduct preliminary examination against a judge, independently from the HCoJ.

The position of Independent Inspector became vacant after Ketevan Tsintsadze was confirmed by the Parliament as one of the 14 judges for the lifetime tenure at the Supreme Court on December 12, 2019.

The following day, the HCoJ announced a call for applications between December 17-26 to select the new inspector, and held interviews with candidates on January 14-15. From initially registered 42, 20 applicants met qualification requirements and nine people were interviewed at the final stage, the HCoJ noted. 

Earlier this week, the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting over 40 Georgian local civil society organizations (CSOs), called on the HCoJ to suspend the competition due to the lack of transparency of selection process. 

The last year, Aznaurashvili was among the 50 candidates of the Supreme Court judges selected by the HCoJ through secret ballot. Nazibrola Janezashvili, non-judge member of the HCoJ then spoke of conflict of interest, noting that Aznaurashvili was a brother-in-law of Tamar Oniani, one of the judge members of the HCoJ. Oniani, who still serves as the member of the HCoJ, responded that the two were no longer related.

Previously, from 2013 to 2019, Zurab Aznaurashvili served as the Head of its Political Finance Monitoring Department at the State Audit Office of Georgia. His most recent employer has been the High School of Justice.

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