EU Says Top Court Appointments in Georgia Defy April 19 Deal

The appointment of six Supreme Court judges on July 12 go against the “key provisions of the April 19 Agreement” to pause all ongoing appointments, comply with Venice Commission recommendations, and increase judiciary independence and accountability in an inclusive process,  said a statement delivered today by Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano.

The spokesperson said the disbursement of the second tranche of EU’s macro-financial assistance appointments would be “negatively affected” by the recent appointments, as revising the Supreme Court selection process in line with Venice Venice Commission recommendations before moving on with selection process was “a mutually agreed condition” for the aid.

“The EU is open to further talks at the highest levels to discuss justice reform and the way ahead following these developments, notably in the context of the 19 April Agreement and decisions regarding EU macro-financial assistance to Georgia,” the statement highlighted.

The foreign policy spokesperson asserted that the vote for judges was “a missed opportunity for the Georgian authorities to prove their commitment to a genuine and comprehensive reform of the judiciary,” a development that carries a risk of damaging public trust and judicial independence.

The ruling Georgian Dream party lawmakers pushed through six judicial appointments in an extraordinary session at the Parliament on July 12, despite international calls to pause the process. Also, the legislators turned down three other candidates.

The ruling party MPs, including Chair Irakli Kobakhidze, had said they could move on with the appointments, arguing the GD had already fulfilled its obligations for relevant reform by passing Common Courts amendments in April, before signing the EU-brokered deal.

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