TI Georgia: a clan promotes judges to maintain power

Transparency International Georgia says that a clan of judges maintains power over the country’s court system. Photo: cato.org.

Agenda.ge, 26 Oct 2021 - 14:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) says that a clan of judges using the promotion system of judges to maintain its power over the court. 

In its recently released survey, covering the years 2015-2020, TI Georgia says that the vast majority of promotion decisions were ‘based not on merit, but on the personal, narrow interests of an influential group of judges.’ 

It further says that the promotions were made possible by the current legal framework, including rules pertaining to the composition of the High Council of Justice, a body which selects and appoints judges across the country, and its respective decision-making.

In transitional democracies, merely establishing high standards for the promotion of judges cannot ensure the effectiveness of the justice system. It is important that, in the process of promotion, the dangers emanating from influential judges within the judiciary, that may infringe upon the independence of individual judges, are taken into account,” TI Georgia said. 

TI Georgia says that the existing practice of judicial promotion ‘threatens to eliminate the possibility’ of more qualified judges making it into higher courts.  

The organization believes that to solve the problem, decisions on promotions should be made by a double 2/3 majority of non-judicial and judicial members of the High Council of Justice. 

 However, it says the parliament must also ensure that the High Council of Justice is staffed with neutral and independent judicial members

The EU and foreign partners have encouraged Georgia to carry out fundamental judicial reforms. 

The Georgian Dream government maintains that genuine steps have already been taken to reform the judiciary and vows to take all measures to bring the process to the end.