CSOs Slam Proposed Changes to Top Court Justice Selection Process

The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting around 40 Georgian civil society organizations, slammed the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) draft decree aimed at regulating the Supreme Court Justice selection process as “problematic,” noting that the proposed rules “do not ensure an open and transparent process.”

According to the statement released on December 7, imposing a time limit on candidate interviews and restricting question topics, as proposed in the draft decree, diminish the ability of the Council members to actively engage in the selection process.

The watchdogs are concerned that the proposed regulation of interview question subjects possibly aims at relieving “candidates loyal to the [judicial] clan from unpleasant questions.”

The Coalition also remarked that the proposed draft does not include mandatory broadcasting of the candidate hearings, which risks low publicity of the process. The statement said live streaming is needed to ensure publicity of the process as required by the law.

The CSOs noted as well that HCoJ member Dimitri Gvritishvili, who is now running as Supreme Court Justice candidate, is controversially the author of the draft and proposed rules that will later reply to him as a candidate.

The High Council of Justice, body charged with overseeing the judiciary, launched the selection process of a Supreme Court judge on November 20.

Earlier Supreme Court appointments, namely the confirmation of 14 judges for lifetime tenure in the nation’s top court by the Parliament in December 2019, was also met with widespread criticism by the opposition, civil society organizations and the non-judge members of the HCoJ.

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