He stressed the appointments were “hasty, non-transparent and non-competitive,” and at odds with Georgia’s commitments to increasing the independence, accountability, quality and trust in the Judiciary, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The EU Ambassador highlighted that the appointments took place the day after local elections, and only four days after the agenda of the conference of judges was published. He pointed out that candidates were not announced in advance, and the posts became vacant after previous holders, two women, unexpectedly resigned before their terms expired.
The statement recalled previous four setbacks for Georgia’s judiciary – the appointments to the Supreme Court on July 12, failure to fulfill the necessary conditions to receive an extra 75 million EUR in EU macro-financial assistance by September 2021, backtracking on amending rules on appointing the Prosecutor General, and “the lack – so far – of credible investigation and prosecution of the organizers of the 5 July violence targeting over 50 journalists and activists.
Emphasizing that “these developments demonstrate yet again the urgent need to launch an ambitious judicial reform,” Ambassador Hartzel said the EU “calls once more on the Georgian authorities to uphold their reform commitments, including in the justice sector.”
“The European Union reiterates that, while it remains fully committed to support Georgia’s reforms in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the EU’s assistance to Georgia remains conditional on progress on key reforms,” reads the statement.
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