EU Slams Georgia’s Adoption of Court Reform Bill without CoE Feedback

In his statement released on October 5, Lead Spokesperson for the External Affairs of the European Union Peter Stano slammed the Georgian Parliament’s passage of amendments reviewing the selection of Supreme Court justices without the Council of Europe feedback.

“It is regrettable that the Parliament did not await the publication of the urgent Venice Commission Opinion on this legislation, which it had itself requested,” the statement underlined. 

“This was a missed opportunity to create public trust in this process,” noted the EU’s lead spokesperson, adding that “the EU and other key observers had repeatedly expressed concerns over the shortcomings in this selection process.”

The Court reform bill passed on September 30, sets new rules in the process of shortlisting candidates by the High Council of Justice, Georgia’s chief body overseeing judicial processes, for submission to the Parliament for a final decision. The governing Georgian Dream party’s parliamentary majority pushed through the bill without the feedback of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, despite requesting its opinion over the legislation a week earlier, after the urge from PACE monitors. 

The EU Spokesperson highlighted that “the European Union will assess the legislation and its implications” with the expectation that “Georgia will further consider changes to the rules of the selection process in light of the Venice Commission’s recommendations.”

“Upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity in its judiciary is key for Georgia’s credibility in the eyes of its citizens and international partners, and for the advancement of the EU-Georgia partnership”, concluded Lead Spokesperson’s statement.

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