The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi slammed late on November 2 the rushed appointments of two judge members in the High Council of Justice, a body overseeing judiciary in Georgia, as “neither competitive, nor transparent.”
“It is disappointing that the Judiciary missed the opportunity to show transparency and failed again to elect its representatives through a competitive and democratic election process,” the strongly-worded missive highlighted.
The Embassy asserted that “many qualified, professional members of the judiciary who are shut out by such a closed system deserve better.”
“Judiciary leaders maintain the judiciary is unfairly criticized for the lack of transparent and merit-based appointments, promotions, and transfers,” the statement went on, adding: “Yet when the Conference of Judges rushes through important decisions without competition or transparency, it demonstrates unwillingness to embrace reforms that would increase transparency, accountability and public trust in the appointment process, the candidates, and in the High Council of Justice.”
The U.S. Embassy noted that there was little advance notice of the intent to fill the two seats left open by the pre-term resignations. It slammed the process over the lack of consultations or participation by a “broad range of qualified candidates,” and that of meaningful engagement by civil society and other relevant actors.
“The United States has long sought to build the capacity of qualified and dedicated judges while calling for reforms that would allow for accountability for judges who undermine the legitimacy of the judicial system. This includes seeking legislative amendments to avoid corporatism and to safeguard the principles of democracy, equality, and adherence to the Rule of Law,” stressed the statement.
Concluding the missive, U.S. Embassy said accountable, professional, and transparent judiciary “is fundamental for Georgia’s chosen path of Euro-Atlantic integration.”
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