Beselia to Collect Signatures to Accelerate Abolition of Lifetime Tenure of Judges

Ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party senior lawmaker Eka Beselia says that she plans to collect MP signatures in order to discuss the abolition of the lifetime appointment of judges in an accelerated manner.

Beselia stated at the committee sitting that unless the bureau makes the decision to discuss the amendments in an accelerated manner, she will get the issue included on the agenda by having it supported and signed by the majority of committee members.

In early February, Beselia, together with her eight co-thinkers within the party, submitted a legislative initiative to Parliament asking for the suspension of the appointment of judges for life tenure in the first and second instances of courts.

The initiative is based on the article of the transitional provisions of the Constitution, according to which the Supreme Council of Justice may not use the appointment of judges for life tenure until 31 December 2024, but use the probationary term instead.

The draft law was signed by Georgian Dream members Gedevan Popkhadze, Sasha Erkvania, Zviad Kvachantiradze, Koba Narchemashvili, Levan Koberidze, Davit Chichnadze, Otar Chrdileli, Eka Beselia, and Levan Gogichaishvili.

According to Beselia, it is necessary to reform the High School of Justice and that new judges should enter the judiciary system as a result of the reform.

“This initiative has great importance for ensuring that the justice system is not closed and judges are not appointed for life tenure," Beselia said.

“I hope the majority will support this initiative which regulates appointment procedures of judges,” she added.

The issue became controversial after the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) nominated 10 candidate judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia for life tenure. The list was rejected by the non-judge members of the HCOJ, NGOs and some members of the majority, who claimed that the presented judges were working during the previous government too and had the reputation of being “biased and corrupt”.

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said the discussions on the issue had been postponed until spring, adding that Parliament will define new procedures and criteria for nominating and electing judges, followed by the HCOJ endorsing an updated list of judges based on maximally open and transparent procedures.

After the increased criticism towards the list of candidates, the judges issued a statement, calling on Parliament not to consider their candidacies.

The judges claimed that “unethical and insulting” statements were made towards the nominated candidates and these statements “artificially turned into an unprecedented pressure campaign” against judicial power, where direct appeals were made regarding the dismissal of the Supreme Council of Justice and expel of the judges, including ones into the presented list.

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated in late January that the society should have a feeling that there are objective criteria and procedures for the selection of judges, adding everyone should be involved in the determination of criteria and procedures for the selection of judges.


By Thea Morrison


18 February 2019 15:14