US Embassy: appointment of judges to Georgian Supreme Court is extremely disappointing

The US Embassy also noted that the decision of the government not to pause the process is very concerning. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 15 Jul 2021 - 19:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

The US Embassy to Georgia has stated that the appointment of judges to the country’s Supreme Court is ‘extremely disappointing,’ noting that Georgian leaders, including the ruling Georgian Dream party, failed to fulfil the obligation under the April 19 EU-mediated agreement which ended months of political standoff.

The Georgian parliament appointed six judges out of nine candidates to the country’s Supreme Court on July 12, despite calls from the international community, NGOs and opposition to place a moratorium on the process.

Unfortunately, this nomination and appointment process, and the failure to undertake inclusive, comprehensive judicial reform, fell short of the commitment Georgia’s leaders, including the ruling party, made to implement the April 19 Agreement in good faith,” says the statement of the US Embassy. 

The US Embassy also recalled that the political parties agreed to conduct ambitious judicial reform through a transparent process with the involvement of legal experts, civil society and opposition parties.  

Unilateral legislative changes, including those adopted against the advice of international partners while the April 19 Agreement was being negotiated, are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Agreement. In particular, the early April amendments to the Organic Law on Common Courts failed to fully address Venice Commission recommendations, including a key recommendation related to staggering judicial appointments,” reads the statement. 

The statement also said that the failure to pause the appointment process has real consequences.

Legal experts and civil society organizations have highlighted that Parliament’s flawed process did not advance the most qualified nominees, resulting in less-qualified judges receiving lifetime appointments on the court,” said in the announcement. 

The US Embassy also noted that the decision of the government not to pause the process is very concerning and ‘constitutes a significant missed opportunity to strengthen confidence in Georgia’s judiciary and advance its democratic development.’ 

The United States stands ready to continue our efforts to support Parliament and the people of Georgia in credible efforts to strengthen the judicial system and the rule of law in Georgia,” stated in the document,” said the US Embassy. 

The US ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has called on Georgian authorities for several times to temporarily stop the process of appointment of the judges. 

Three out of the nine candidates were not supported by the parliament of Georgia. 

The majority of the opposition did not participate in the voting process.