On March 13, the Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary, a group uniting over forty Georgian civil society organizations, released a statement slamming the nomination of justice Nino Kadagidze as a candidate for the Supreme Court Chair position.
CSOs noted that Kadagidze was among the ten candidates nominated by the HCoJ to the Parliament “without any public hearing or discussion” at the end of December, 2018. The Coalition argued that these candidates had been alleged members or sympathizers of “an influential group”, or “a clan” within the judiciary. This, the statement reads, was well-attested as Kadagidze had shown reluctance to discuss “internal threats to judicial independence” and had refuted allegations of the clan’s existence.
CSOs called attention to the fact that she also was among the fourteen persons appointed to the Supreme Court for lifetime tenure in December 2019. The appointment process, the Coalition stressed, had significant shortcomings and was negatively assessed by domestic and international watchdogs alike.
The Coalition emphasized that while nominating Kadagidze, HCoJ members held behind-the-scenes consultations with Supreme Court judges and failed to include other stakeholders, such as judges from the first and second instance courts, and CSOs. According to the joint statement, given the high public interest, HCOJ was obliged to run an open and inclusive selection process and secure more legitimacy for its decision.
Considering “unjustifiable” nomination by the HCoJ and Kadagidze’s own track record, the Coalition called on the members of the Parliament to reject Kadagidze’s candidacy.