EU Ambassador says appointment of judge members of High Council of Justice ‘hasty, non-transparent, non-competitive’

Carl Hartzell calls on the Georgian authorities ‘to uphold their reform commitments, including in the justice sector, in the interest of Georgian citizens and of the future of EU-Georgia relations'. Photo: EU Delegation  archive, 02 Nov 2021 - 21:59, Tbilisi,Georgia

Head of the European Union delegation to Georgia Carl Hartzell said the recent appointments of two new judge members to the High Council of Justice, was ‘hasty, non-transparent and non-competitive’. 

Ambassador Hartzell said that these appointments took place on the day after local elections they were therefore ‘at odds with Georgia’s commitments aimed at increasing the independence, accountability, quality and trust in the judiciary’, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

This is a fifth setback in the area of the judiciary and rule of law in Georgia, within only four months. It follows the further appointments to the Supreme Court on 12 July which lacked ‘integrity, objectivity  and credibility’ according to the OSCE/ODIHR, the failure to fulfil the necessary judicial conditions to receive an extra 75 million EUR in EU macro-financial assistance by September 2021, the non-adoption on 7 September of the constitutional amendments on the Prosecutor General’s appointment and the lack - so far - of credible investigation and prosecution of the organisers of the 5 July violence targeting over 50 journalists and activists”, Carl Hartzell said. 

He further noted that these developments ‘demonstrate yet again the urgent need to launch an ambitious judicial reform through a broad, inclusive and cross-party reform process, to which the Georgian political parties committed’.