Anna Dolidze, a non-judge member of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), has announced she will quit the Council – a state body overseeing the judiciary. She would hand in her resignation to the President later today.
Dolidze’s decision came after a group of seven civil society organizations, among others Transparency International Georgia, ISFED and Georgian Democracy Initiative released a joint statement on June 15, calling on Anna Dolidze to quit HCoJ in a “timely fashion”, after having announced plans to launch a political movement.
On May 21, Dolidze founded Movement for People, a political outfit, saying she was striving to shake up the political field in the country “with clean hands.” This led to mounting criticism, spearheaded by another non-judge member of HCoJ, Nazi Janezashvili, who said partisan politics were legally incompatible with the Council membership. Dolidze called Janezashvilis actions “a smear campaign”.
Speaking at a news briefing on June 22, Anna Dolidze said that the purpose of “defamation campaign” launched against was “to demean” her struggle against what she refers as a “clannish rule” in the judiciary.
Dolidze also highlighted that she had been “left alone in the struggle” for overhauling the judiciary in the HCoJ, so it could no longer serve as “a battleground”.
“I will channel all my resources into building up the Movement for People in order to carry on my struggle in partnership with the Georgian people. Together with them, I will lay the foundation for a new, independent judiciary,” Dolidze said.
President Salome Zurabishvili, who previously also expressed hope that Anna Dolidze would make “a timely and dignified decision” to quit HCoJ is expected to accept her resignation. The President will have to appoint Dolidze’s substitute to within one month.
Anna Dolidze and another non-judge member of HCoJ, Nazi Janezashvili have been vocal critics of “the clannish rule” in the judiciary.
Chapter 7 Article 13: A member of Georgia’s High Council of Justice appointed by the President of Georgia or elected by the Parliament of Georgia may not hold any other position in civil service or in local government, may not engage in business activity, or be a member of the managerial, supervisory, auditing or consulting body thereof, or have any other remunerated activity, except scientific, teaching or creative work. S/he may not be the member of the political union and/or participate in political activity.”