Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary Reacts to the Venice Commission Report

The Coalition published its assessment of the March 14 Venice Commission opinion regarding the draft amendments to the Organic Law of Georgia “On Common Courts”. The amendments have been initiated by the ruling Georgian Dream party in response to the European Commission 12 conditions for obtaining EU candidacy by Georgia.

The statement by the Coalition reads that it “has been vocal for years about the increasing concentration of power in the justice system and the need for fundamental reforms.” According to the statement: “The focal point of the criticism is the harmful practice of corporatism and clan-based governance in the High Council of Justice. Despite this criticism, the initiated amendments once again confirm that the ruling political team is not ready for the real reform of the judiciary and insists on implementing only superficial changes.”

The Coalition recalls that while the Venice Commission identified challenges facing the judiciary as systematic it says that “proposed amendments are not comprehensive” as they fail to address the fundamental reform of the Hight Council of Justice, and do not address the Commission’s earlier recommendations.

The Coalition “welcomes the Venice Commission’s endorsement of key challenges identified by the civil sector”, in particular, concurring that the idea of ​​pluralism implies not only the presence of non-judge members in the Council but also allowing the non-judge members to play an important role in the decision-making process and ensuring a balance between non-judge and judge members.

The statement mentions other challenges identified by the Venice Commission, such as the qualifications of Supreme Court judges, nomination of Supreme Court judicial candidates, transfers of judges, grounds for disciplinary liability and others.

The Coalitions regrets that “the changes and the vision proposed by the ruling party completely ignore the main problems in the justice system, the concentration of power, and informal, clan-based influences.

It also notes that the positions of five non-judge members of the Council are still vacant, “which further reduces the external control and transparency of the Council’s activities.” The Coalition also emphasizes the urgent need for fundamental changes light of the ongoing process of European integration and calls on the Georgian Parliament to begin without delay the fundamental reform of the judiciary, which will contribute to the fulfilment of the twelve priorities of the European Commission.

Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary was formed in April 2011. Currently it unites 40 member NGOs. The goal of the Coalition is to consolidate the efforts of legal professional associations, legal rights NGOs, business associations, and media into a joint advocacy for an independent, transparent and accountable justice system.

Read Also:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

Back to top button