US Embassy Comments on Georgia's Judicial Reform

The United States Embassy in Georgia has released a statement regarding the judicial reform in the country, calling for the adoption of a transparent system.

The statement reads that Georgia has taken great steps in recent years to protect the independence of its judiciary, adding the US Government supports Parliament and its efforts to provide a legal framework that discourages improper judicial influence and informal governance.

“To foster greater public trust, we urge the government to adopt a transparent legal framework.  This framework should guide the decision-making process governing future lifetime judicial appointments,” the Embassy stated.

The Embassy commended the Parliamentary Working Group for their review of the processes and grounds governing judicial discipline.

“We encourage the Working Group to draw on international principles and standards, which provide a thoughtful roadmap for reform. We urge the Working Group to adopt a transparent disciplinary system governed by clear and independent investigative procedures and standards of proof,” the statement reads.

The Embassy believes that increased transparency of the disciplinary process will improve public accountability and foster greater public confidence in the objectivity of the judicial system.

Two days ago, Ana Dolidze, a member of the High Council of Justice, stated that the process of the judicial reform does not include any transparency or accountability.

She stated she believes that the lifetime appointment of 40 judges will be “catastrophic” and added that the US Embassy in its statement on the judicial system indicated clearly that reform was necessary and a question should be raised about permanent appointment before the reform.

“This was a warning for the legislators to take the judicial reform, and first of all the lifelong appointment of judges, more seriously. The real independence of judicial authorities is a major challenge for the state. Disciplinary responsibility is important. This will enable the judiciary to be accountable to the public and will exclude pressure on judges. The legislative process will show us if Parliament will achieve this result,” she said.

By Thea Morrison

21 May 2018 11:18