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Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary Supports US Sanctions on Judges

The US Department of State’s recent decision to impose personal sanctions on members of the “clan”, an influential group of judges in Georgia, due to their alleged involvement in significant corruption, has been welcomed by the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary.

According to the Coalition statement, the governance of the “clan” has been a longstanding challenge for the Georgian justice system. The Coalition stated that “internal challenges to the independence of the court system are one of the focal topics of the Country Report of the US Department of State.”

The statement notes that despite several demands, the so-called Charles Michel Agreement, and the 12 EU conditions, the ruling party has not demonstrated the political will to fundamentally reform the court system.

The Coalition also notes that the “clan” is in alliance with the government and makes decisions on political cases not on the basis of justice, but to achieve narrow political or other goals. It is emphasized that recent reforms in the court system have increased the Clan’s dominance and undermined the independence of individual judges. The Coalition stresses that the sanctioned persons abused their positions as court chairpersons and as members of the High Council of Justice, thereby harming the rule of law and the public’s trust in the Georgian court system. 

“The application of sanctions against the influential judges confirms the seriousness of informal influences and the problems of clan-based governance in the judiciary. These processes undermine the reputation of the entire judicial system while limiting the right of Georgian citizens to a fair, independent, and effective judiciary,” the Coalition says.

The Coalition reiterates its call on the ruling party to comply with the European Union’s recommendations on the judiciary and to undertake fundamental reform, to take steps to end clan-based governance in the judiciary, to appoint impartial and conscientious members to the High Council of Justice and to amend the existing decision-making rules in the HCoJ.

Finally, the Coalition believes that the alleged crimes mentioned in the US Embassy statement should be legally assessed by the relevant authorities.

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

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