President of Georgia refused to nominate a candidate for the position of Chief Justice, citing lack of consensus as a reason, according to an official statement made by his Chief of Staff, following weeks of consultations with civil society. The Coalition is sharply critical of the President’s decision not to exercise his Constitutional authority and instead shift responsibility to various public groups. Unfortunately, the President has to this time failed to set a format of civil society engagement in the nomination process, and without this we cannot consider the President’s decision as motivated.
According to the current Constitution, the President of Georgia has the authority to nominate a candidate for Chief Justice to the Parliament, and the new Constitutional provisions that enter into force upon swearing in of the new President gives this authority to the High Council of Justice. Additionally the Chief Justice nominated and appointed according to the new rules will no longer serve as the Chair of the High Council of Justice. This will further significantly strengthen the concentration of forces of the influential group of judges and will lead to further strengthening of risks of the system’s closure.
We call on the President of Georgia to consider the grave circumstances of the Georgian judiciary to execute his Constitutional authority timely and effectively and ensure nomination of a candidate, who would enjoy a wide public support. The Coalition is ready to actively engage in the consultations for the consultations for nomination and support the nomination process.
We also call on the Parliament of Georgia to ensure that the hearings on the nominee and appointment are held during the coming session.