Georgian Dream Tries to Retain Control over the Justice System by Withdrawing the New Rule of the Appointment of Prosecutor General
Transparency International Georgia is concerned by Georgian Dream's attempt to make constitutional changes without changing the modality for the appointment of the Prosecutor General. By withdrawing progressive changes and keeping the existing rules in place, Georgian Dream aims to maintain full control over the justice system.
According to the current regulation, the decision to appoint the Prosecutor General is made by the Parliament with a majority, which allows a single-party decision-making process. One of the key issues of the agreement of April 19, 2021, was the initiation of amendments for the appointment of the Prosecutor General by a qualified majority. According to the draft constitutional amendments, the parliament should elect the new Prosecutor General with a 3/5 majority, which encourages the broadest, cross-party support for the appointing process.
On September 6, during the discussion of the constitutional amendments in the Parliament the Committee of Legal Affairs supported the constitutional amendments with a reservation that the issue of electing the Prosecutor General by a 3/5 majority would be decided during the plenary session. According to Irakli Kobakhidze, one of the authors of the bill, the changes regarding the Prosecutor General were initiated only because it was stipulated in the April 19 agreement. However, according to him, such regulation is a complete “ugliness”, which should not be written in the country’s constitution.
Depoliticization of the Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary, are some of the main challenges that need to be addressed. It is crucial that the justice system be free from political and undue influence. Decisions made by a qualified majority will reduce the risk that one party can, alone, appoint a Prosecutor General in the future which will ensure the appointment process to be transparent, non-partisan, based on merits. The election of the Prosecutor General by a qualified majority is also recommended by the Venice Commission. Hence, the withdrawal of the constitutional amendments will further hinder the democratic process in the country, which will be the responsibility of the ruling political party.