Third report on monitoring the High Council of Justice of Georgia - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

Third report on monitoring the High Council of Justice of Georgia

27 February, 2015

Transparency International Georgia and Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association introduced the Joint Report No. 3 on the Council’s work which includes the results of observations and examination of the Council’s activities in 2014.

During 2014 the High Council of Justice was active in cases in many areas of law, and a large range of issues were observed by the monitoring teams.;

Monitoring showed the following improvements:

  • The amendments made in 2013 which determined a new composition of the Council positively affected the discussions and the work of the Council as well as its degree of transparency;
  • The amendments made in the end of 2014 should be positively assessed. Under these amendments, the rules and procedures for expanded sessions were regulated. This amendment allows the Council to involve experts, academic groups and/or interested organisations on a broad range of issues within its competency, should they decide to do so
  • The Council has added functionality to its website that provides public information proactively.
  • During the reporting period, for the first time in practice, judges were appointed to their positions inline with the  2/3 votes required under regulation;
  • There were fewer transfers of judges in 2014 compared to the previous years, which is a step in the right direction. 2013 was an exception to this trend..

Despite the improvements, there still are some significant flaws in the activities of the Council which is caused by the lack of legislative regulation as well as incorrect interpretation of the existing regulations by the Council. In particular:

  • During the monitoring period, the Council failed to work on multiple important issues and/or on adoption of decisions such as determining the optimal number of judges in the system of common courts of Georgia, the criteria and rules for promotion of judges in the judiciary, etc.
  • During this period, out of 30 sessions, prior notification of 7 days occurred only for 3 sessions - prior notification is a requirement under the law;
  • Neither law, nor by-law binds the Council to study, consider and make a decision on statements and applications within a certain timeframe.  During the monitoring period, there was a case where an application submitted to the Council in 2008 was considered by it in 2014;
  • The legal framework regulating transfer of judges and assignment of judicial powers are also problematic, since it doesn’t contain reasoning;
  • In multiple cases, decisions made by the Council by majority vote left a strong impression that they were manifestly unjustified;
  • Neither the law nor by-laws regulate the issue of conflict of interests of the Council members.
  • During the reporting period, effectively, there was no institutional connection between the Council and the Ministry of Justice when deciding upon a series of important issues where their own roles and functions were to be determined; For instance, while working on the part of the Association Agreement’s Action Plan which concerns with the judicial reforms, there was no cooperation and consultation between these two agencies.

Transparency International Georgia and Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association will keep monitoring the High Council of Justice in 2015, the reports of which will be published in the following year.

 

The monitoring project is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of TI Georgia and GYLA do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government or EWMI

 

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