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CSOs Slam Appointment of Constitutional Court Justice amid State of Emergency

On April 3, sixteen civil society organizations, including Georgian Democracy Initiative, Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Georgia Foundation and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information have slammed the process of appointment of a Constitutional Court justice amid the state of emergency as “unacceptable.”

A 10-year tenure of one of the Constitutional Court justices, appointed through the Supreme Court quota, expired in December 2019.

CSOs say the top court failed to appoint a new judge within the timeframe envisaged by the law. The new justice should have been selected in November.

The Supreme Court’s Plenum, responsible for making an appointment, initially planned to hold a session on March 31. The move was then promptly condemned by the CSOs, finding it unacceptable to hold a session during pandemic emergency.

Georgia declared state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic on March 21 for a term of one month.

The Supreme Court then released a statement, noting that the session was postponed due to technical reasons. The Plenum was rescheduled for April 3.

CSOs suspect that by convening the Plenum session to solve the issue during the state of emergency, the Supreme Court aims at avoiding public oversight.

The signatory organizations called on the Supreme Court’s Plenum not to appoint the Constitutional Court justice before the end of the state of emergency.

The CSOs said that “while the Constitutional Court still maintains public trust and authority, the appointment of a judge in these circumstances and beyond the closed doors will have a negative impact on the reputation of the appointed judge and the entire Constitutional Court.”

The Constitutional Court, which consists of nine members, has one vacant seat after the term of justice Maia Kopaleishvili expired on December 5, 2019.

According to the law, a new justice should be appointed no earlier than one month and no later than 10 days prior to the end of term of an incumbent justice. 2/3 of votes are needed to select a candidate.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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