Georgian PM: objective criteria and procedures must exist for judge selection

Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze says that unlike the previous state leadership, the current government does not interfere in the court’s issues. Photo: Prime Minister’s press office., 22 Jan 2019 - 11:34, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the time ended long ago when the government interfered in the court issues.

However, he says that public should have the feeling that objective criteria and procedures exist for the selection of judges.

Bakhtadze made the statement late yesterday in Lithuania when he responded to the request of ten judges to parliament not to discuss their candidacies for the Supreme Court of Georgia, as several of the judges have been strongly criticised for their “controversial past and biased judiciary.”

Bakhtadze says that the Georgian Dream ruling party has a “clear position” that the procedures for the selection of judges should be defined with the engagement of all interested sides.

When it comes to the government’s interference in the court’s issues, I have stated multiple times that the time has gone when government members, prime ministers or any other top officials selected and appointed judges [who were desirable to them],” Bakhtadze said.

Currently there are 10 judges instead of 28 in the Supreme Court. Photo: Supreme Court FB page. 

The High Council of Justice, an independent body which is responsible for the appointment of judges in Georgia, provided a list of 10 judges for lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court on 24 December.

The list should have been discussed and then approved by parliament.

However, non-judge members of the High Council of Justice and the Georgian civil sector strongly criticized the list, which included “several judges who were connected with politically motivated cases under the United National Movement leadership.”

The parliament made a decision on 26 December 2018 to postpone discussions regarding the judges until the spring session and come up with new procedures for the selection of judges.

The Georgian civil sector and the opposition have welcomed the recent statement of the judges. However, they said that the “fight must be brought to an end” and clear procedures must be drafted for the selection of “fair judges.”