Local civil society organizations, lawyers, former judges and human rights watchdogs held a closed meeting on December 26 to discuss the issue of appointment of Supreme Court judges. The meeting was organized by Open Society Georgia Foundation and Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC).
The participants discussed the current situation in the judiciary and focused on problems and threats related to appointment of Supreme Court judges. They claimed that the process was not transparent, pointing at “clannish interests” and a threat of corruption. The situation is further intensified by broad discretion and judicial powers granted by the new constitution. One of the participants of the meeting slammed the process as “an attempt to steal power from people.”
In parallel with the meeting, it was reported that the Parliament will postpone the deliberations on the issue until its spring session. Just a few minutes after the Parliamentary Chairman’s remarks, it became known that the High Council of Justice scheduled interviews with the judges appointed for three years on December 27.
Meeting participants agreed on a joint vision and discussed future plans including expanding discussion beyond the professional circles and engaging broader public.
The new Constitution of Georgia entered into force upon the inauguration of the new President. According to the new Constitution, the Supreme Court judges will be nominated by the High Council of Justice, instead of the President, and endorsed by the Parliament for lifetime tenure.
The Supreme Court chairperson is also elected under the same rule for a term of 10 years.