President Comments on Venice Commission Recommendations

Georgian President Salome Zurabsihvili has commented on the recently issued recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding the selection criteria of the Supreme Court judges.

Zurabishvili noted that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) team took into account four out of five main recommendations of the Commission.

“At the first stage, only one recommendation was taken into account regarding the cancellation of the examination requirement. This change could not defuse the tensed situation and we held consultations with the Chairman of the Parliament,” she said.

The President added that the other recommendations are:

  • The personal information about the judicial candidates will be public
  • A candidate member of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), which nominates the judges, can no longer enjoy the right of voting and assessing other candidates
  • The Chair of the Supreme Court can be nominated not by one but three members of the HCOJ

Zurabishvili said that the only recommendation that was not taken into account is the abolition of the secret ballot during the selection process of the judges.

“This recommendation creates some inconvenience because it was the Venice Commission that recommended making the ballot secret in 2014,” she said.

In addition, Zurabishvili said that the Venice Commission’s recommendation relating to the appointment of the part of judges after the 2020 parliamentary elections is more political than legal.

She expressed hope that as a result of the reformation of the justice system, Georgia will adopt a judicial system and judiciary corps, the high professionalism of which will ensure delivery of lawful, justified and fair judgments.

The 14-page report of the Venice Commission reads that the High Council of Justice enjoys very low trust from a large segment of society.

The request for an urgent opinion was made by the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, after the introduction of a 10-member list of Supreme Court judges caused uproar and criticism. The Commission was asked to evaluate the amendments containing the provisions on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges, including the main draft initiated by Kobakhidze and the ruling GD which was adopted by Parliament with the first reading on March 20.

By Thea Morrison

Related stories:

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Parliament Approves Draft Law on Selection of Judges

Venice Commission President Comments on Selection of Judges

GD Releases Statement about Lifetime Appointment of Judges



23 April 2019 09:17