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ODIHR Slams Georgia’s Supreme Court Nominations

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said Georgia’s ongoing selection process of the Supreme Court justices did not meet the committments taken under the EU-brokered April 19 Agreement between Georgia’s political parties, and that the Georgian authorities failed to bring the legal framework fully in line with the Venice Commission recommendations.

The third monitoring report, unveiled on July 9 and covering the period of December 2020 – June 2021, also said “there was a lack of clear standards and guidelines during this selection process, negatively impacting the equal opportunity of all candidates to succeed.”

“As parliament failed to provide a formal legal basis for the HCJ to halt its nomination process, the HCJ continued with the nomination process in the first competition (for nine pending vacancies). This has raised serious fairness concerns, and it has been strongly criticized by opposition parties, civil society, and international actors,” the report reads.

The document further stressed that the legislative changes made during three overlapping appointment processes for 11 seats on the top court “have called their fairness and equality into question.”

ODIHR also noted concerns both about the effectiveness of the procedures and equal treatment that arose during the nomination process. It said despite clear mechanisms in national legislation to in the avoid conflicts of interest in the appointments, it observed “significant breaches of standards that could undermine both judicial independence and public trust.”

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