Archil Talakvadze, the Vice Speaker in the Georgian Parliament, on Thursday said the United States Department of State’s decision on Wednesday to impose sanctions on four Georgian judges was “unfair”, "absolutely unacceptable” and “incompatible” with the strategic cooperation between the states.
The State Department imposed visa restrictions on four senior judges - Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia and Valerian Tsertsvadze - for their alleged “involvement in significant corruption”.
The release for the ruling said the judges had “abused their positions as court chairmen and members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system”.
In comments for the media, Talakvadze stressed the decision required to be “seriously considered”, adding it was not an “easy topic”.
It is regrettable our friendship and strategic relations have reached the point where we speak to each other in the language of sanctions”, the Parliamentary official said.
He claimed the country had ensured improvements in its judiciary under the sanctioned judges, with the number of suits against Georgia in the European Court of Human Rights reduced by 60 percent.
The Vice Speaker claimed individuals and the Georgian state were also “equally winning” cases in domestic courts, in contrast to the situation under the previous authorities when he said the former had lower chances of winning.
Talakvadze also noted one of the three judges, Tsertsvadze, was no longer occupying a position in the court system.