The High Council of Justice (HCoJ) of Georgia, the body overseeing the judiciary, has elected Nino Kadagidze, the Supreme Court Chair, as its new head on October 15, with 13 votes in favor and 1 against.
Nazibrola Janezashvili, the non-judge member of the HCoJ, has voted against her candidacy. Janezashvili slammed Kadagidze’s election for her alleged links to the “judicial clan,” a group of influential judges believed to be in control of the Georgian judiciary.
The position has been vacant since 2018, when Nino Gvenetadze has resigned from both positions as the HCoJ Chair and as the Supreme Court chair, citing health-related problems. Gvenetadze’s resignation was preceded by tensions with judge-members of the High Council.
According to the Georgian legislation, the HCoJ consists of 15 members, including the Chairperson elected out of the judge-members for a 4-year term. The Supreme Court chair, together with 8 members elected by the Conference of Judges, represent the Common Courts of Georgia in the HCoJ, five other Council members are elected by the Parliament of Georgia, while the remaining one member is appointed by the President.
Nino Kadagidze was nominated by the HCoJ as a Supreme Court chair on March 10 and elected by the Parliament on March 17, 2020. Her nomination and appointment as the head of the top court came under fire by the non-judge HCoJ members, civil society groups, as well as opposition politicians.
Back then, Anna Dolidze, then a non-judge member of the HCoJ, told Civil Georgia that Kadagidze’s appointment was the result of international pressure over Georgian authorities to avoid the election of ruling party-affiliated Shalva Tadumadze in the office, arguing however that Kadagidze would be in charge of the Court only pro forma, with Tadumadze still being the one to pull the strings.
Kadagidze, who was among the 14 Supreme Court justices controversially confirmed by the Parliament in December 2019, for a lifetime tenure, held various positions at the Ministry of Justice of Georgia earlier in 1994-2000. In 2000 she was appointed as a judge of the Chamber of Administrative Cases of Tbilisi District Court. In 2002-12 she served as a Supreme Court justice. In 2013-19, Kadagidze served as a Judge of the Chamber of Administrative Cases of Tbilisi Court of Appeals.
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