Under the recently amended Constitution the High Council of Justice is responsible for nominating the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges. So far a procedure and additional qualification requirements for nominating candidates for the positions of the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges have not been established in the organic law. Despite this fact at the December 24, 2018 meeting the High Council of Justice presented the list of the Supreme Court judicial candidates based on a completely non-transparent procedure and in violation of the legislative requirements. The list was sent to the Parliament for approval. It includes the judges notorious for making unjust decisions in high-profile cases and raising questions due to the lack of independence and impartiality.
We believe that in view of the Supreme Court’s importance and role, its judges have to meet higher standards compared to the first and second instance judges. The Supreme Court has to include professionals, who are not only knowledgeable and experienced, but also highly reputable in professional circles and larger society. The judges, who are not trusted in the society and are not distinguished for an honest and impartial attitude to work, will not be able to ensure justice and will keep the judiciary in the state of the least trusted institution for decades thereby hampering the country’s democratic development.
The ruling party has to adequately comprehend the critical state of the judicial system and recognize its responsibility for the negative outcomes of lifetime appointment of candidates nominated for the Supreme Court.
The Coalition is calling on the Parliament of Georgia to start working on the amendments to the Organic law on the Common Courts aimed at establishing additional qualification requirements corresponding to the high status of a Supreme Court judges and defining the rules for nominating the Supreme Court judicial candidates.
The Parliament of Georgia has to refrain from considering the candidates already nominated by the High Council of Justice prior to the adoption of the above mentioned amendments. The selection process has to be renewed only after the relevant legislative changes are made. The legislative body has to evaluate compliance of the candidates nominated under these rules to the requirements established in the Constitution and the legislation.