We call on the authority to stop the campaign of discrediting judges with a dissenting opinion - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

We call on the authority to stop the campaign of discrediting judges with a dissenting opinion

18 March, 2024

After granting the candidate status to Georgia, The European Commission defined the implementation of judicial system reform as one of the preconditions. Among them, it indicated that a system of extraordinary integrity checks should be established for candidates and persons currently appointed to all leading positions in the judiciary, in particular the High Council of Justice, the Supreme Court and court presidents.

Georgian government representatives expressed their sharply negative position towards this condition and stated several times that they do not see the need to examine integrity of judges. The initiative was also opposed by the Supreme Court statement, however, as it turned out later, there is no unified approach towards the topic in the judicial system.

Two judges of the Supreme Court – Ekaterine Gasitashvili and Nino Bakakuri did not support the statement of the Supreme Court Plenum on the special mechanism for the examination of integrity and the mentioned two judges publicly stated about it. Other judges of the first and second instances expressed similar opinions. The judges state that they do not wish to become an obstacle to Georgia’s European future, and therefore, are ready to undergo integrity test.

Following the statement of judges, the government launched discrediting campaign against judges who expressed dissenting opinion. The Prime Minister mentioned one of the judges with dissenting opinions on ongoing events in a negative context. Judges with dissenting opinions were also negatively mentioned by the MPs – Beka Odisharia and Davit Matikashvili. With this action, the representatives of the authority showed one more time that critical, principled opinions within judiciary is unacceptable for the political authorities.

In regards with the actions of the political authorities, we, representatives of the civil society state that:

  • An attack by the chairperson of the executive branch of the government on a judge with dissenting opinion within judiciary, on the grounds of delayed cases is especially problematic. In particular, it is widely known that the excessive number of cases and delays are problems of the whole judicial system. Primarily, it is a responsibility of the judiciary to solve the problem, however, instead of this, the excessive number of cases and delayed hearings caused by this is used as a lever of pressure against judges.
  • We call on the government to stop the campaign of discrediting judges with a dissenting opinion, to fully comply with EU conditions, which are the necessary preconditions not only for the EU membership, but for fostering an independent and impartial judiciary and development of the country.

Georgian Court Watch

Group of Independent Lawyers

Transparency International Georgia

Democracy Defenders

Georgian Democracy Initiative

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association

Social Justice Center 

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy

Rights Georgia

Civil Society Foundation

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

Democracy Research Institute (DRI)

Partnership for Human Rights

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