In a joint appeal, over 310 judges of Georgian Common Courts today said “a politically motivated, deliberate disinformation campaign,” involving “certain political parties, media outlets under their influence, and certain non-governmental organizations” aims to discredit the judiciary and undermine its independence.
“The judiciary in Georgia has never been as independent as it is today,” the joint appeal said, citing increased acquittals and tax-related disputes decided in favor of individuals, as well as decreases in the pre-trial detention ratio, in administrative detention rates, and in the number of complaints lodged from Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights.
The joint appeal also cited a 2018 IPSOS France Survey, requested by the Georgian Justice Ministry, which identified “positive tendencies” in public perception with regards to judicial reform in the country. “The research claimed that 51% of the Georgian population evaluated the quality of independence of the Georgian judiciary as positive,” the judges noted, stressing that the latter “corresponds to the average rate in EU member states.”
The statement comes amid controversies surrounding the appointment of Supreme Court Judges, as ruling Georgian Dream party Chairperson MP Irakli Kobakhidze said Parliament would not halt the process, despite the U.S. Embassy, civil society outfits, and opposition parties claiming continued appointments contradict the spirit of the April 19 agreement.
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Judges convened at the High School of Justice yesterday to draft the common appeal after facing backlash. Following the meeting behind closed doors, Dimitri Gvritishvili, a member of the High Council of Justice said some of the attending judges noted that the recent actions of those representing Georgia’s strategic partners contradict the principles of relations with a sovereign state, presumably alluding to U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s critical remarks over the continued judicial appointment process.
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