UPDATED: Non-judge members of HCJ, UNM members leave the court reform working group meeting in protest

Meeting participants are discussing the procedures and criteria for selection of the Supreme Court judges. Photo: Parliament of Georgia

Agenda.ge, 27 Jan 2019 - 16:49, Tbilisi,Georgia

The non-judge members of the High Council of Justice Nazi Janezashvili and Anna Dolidze, as well as the members of the United National Movement left the court reform working group meeting headed by the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze.

Nazi Janezashvili said that it is not acceptable to discuss the procedures of the judge selection with those people who have been nominated by the High Council of Justice for the Supreme Court of Georgia and thus have a ‘personal interests’.

The HCJ and Murusidze have brought at the meeting people who are among the 10-people list including the judges Kadagidze, Tsiskaridze, Alania and others. It is not acceptable for me that people who agreed on being nominated before the parliament are now discussing the criteria and procedures for selection of the judges in the future. They are interested to once again being nominated on and that the group decided on procedures in a way to allow them be once again nominated before the parliament,” she said and categorically demanded to create a different working format which will be ‘fair’.

Anna Dolidze also said that she does not see any sense of her involvement in the discussions until it is not ensured that her positions are considered.

Whatever we say it does not matter and only the positions of the establishment, Irakli Kobakhidze and judges are reflected. I do not see any sense of our involvement in this group until there are not more guarantees ensured,” she said.

As for the members of the United National Movement, they have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the attendees of the meeting.

We have put forward very important initiatives weather how the format of the meting could be improved in order to achieve certain results. If our initiatives are not shared we do not see the sense of our involvement in these meetings,” member of the UNM, Tina Bokuchava said adding that they have demanded to involve those people in the meetings who have been working on improving judiciary for years and not only ‘Murusidze and look alikes’.

Speaker of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze said that the meeting was open for discussions before he would leave the building.

The two non-judge members of the Council and opposition wanted to change the working group members and we have expressed our position openly regarding their demand. We are ready for consultations and offered them to be involved in discussions but they preferred to boycott. The process is open, everybody can be involved and we will come up with the final version of the draft law through this open process,” Kobakhidze said.

Earlier today, the number of NGOs have also protested the meeting outside the Radisson Blu Iveria in Tbilisi, where the meeting is being held. They said that people being considered as the future judges of the Supreme Court have been associated with injustice for years. The NGOs have demanded the HCJ members to be changed.

Earlier: 13:49

Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze has attended a court reform working group meeting where he said that the independent judiciary needs to be strengthened.

Meeting participants are discussing the procedures and criteria for the nomination and selection of the Supreme Court judges, the parliament press office said.

We have a common goal to strengthen the independent court, independent judges and this is why we need to come up with procedures and criteria based on which the Supreme Court judges will be elected by the Georgian Parliament after being put forward by the High Council of Justice,” Kobakhidze said.

Non-judge member of HCJ Anna Dolidze has expressed her concerns about the meeting format saying it was ‘illegitimate’.

No society members are represented here. Only the friends of the judge Levan Murusidze are attending it. Seems like Irakli Kobakhidze is going to write down this reform again,” she said before the meeting started and emphasised she would raise her concerns regarding the format at the meeting.

The meeting which is currently ongoing is being held with the support of the Council of Europe. The court reform working group was created back in 2017 under the initiative of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

The group aims to work on the fourth wave of the Georgian court reform and is comprised of the representatives of lawmakers, government, court and local NGOs and international organisations.