The European External Action Service (EEAS) has released a statement condemning the recent appointment of four judges to the country’s Supreme Court despite calls to pause the process ‘before addressing the existing shortcomings.’
Such appointments are not in line with the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission,” the statement reads.
The EEAS also emphasises the importance of the April 19 EU-mediated agreement which resolved a political crisis after the 2020 parliamentary elections and obliged both the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and opposition to implement fundamental electoral and judiciary reforms.
However, the GD later in July backed out of the agreement, noting that it ‘completed its mission.’
The Georgian parliament approved four judges to the country’s Supreme Court yesterday despite calls from the international community to suspend the process before the implementation of large-scale judicial reforms. Photo: Parliament of Georgia.
These latest appointments contradict the commitment to ambitious judicial reform made by Georgia’s leaders in the political agreement of 19 April this year, and restated on 28 July. This included addressing issues in the Supreme Court nomination process before proceeding with appointments of the judges,” the EEAS reports.
The statement highlights that the appointments of the judges create risks of ‘further undermining of judicial independence and public trust in the Georgian justice system.’
The EU calls on the Georgian authorities ‘to strengthen the independence, accountability, and quality of the judicial system through a broad, inclusive and cross party reform process.’
The European Union reminds that, while it remains fully committed to support Georgia’s reforms in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the EU’s assistance to Georgia remains conditional on progress on key reforms, including on judiciary,” the statement reads.
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan also commented on the issue earlier today calling the appointment of judges ‘disappointing.’
The international community and local NGOs were actively calling on the Georgian government to uphold the process of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court before the implementation of the fundamental reforms, however, the state legislature did not suspend the process.