Georgia “doesn’t deserve” US sanctions on judges to deepen domestic polarisation - President

Georgian President Salome Zoiurabichvili on Friday responded to the US sanctions on Georgian judges. Photo: President press office, 07 Apr 2023 - 19:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Friday said the move by the United States Department of State to impose visa restrictions on four Georgian judges “should not become a reason for further deepening of political polarisation” in the country. 

In her press briefing, the President stressed the reasons behind the decision required to be analysed. 

Our allied state may have sent us a ruthless message, but let us not get upset, angry or happy - let's analyse what happened, [and] what we need to improve. Let us show the world that we deserve a different assessment - and we will achieve this goal, that will make us very happy", Zourabichvili said. 

She also expressed her fears the US sanctions on judges could be perceived as a “negative signal” in the European Union, ahead of the bloc’s forthcoming decision whether to grant its membership candidate status to the country later this year. 

To prevent the “negative consequences” for the country’s European future, the President called for an “effective and timely steps” to “restore the country’s image”.

If we do not want the issue of the four judges to affect the country’s future, effective steps are needed - be it a full investigation or a review of the composition of the Supreme Council of Justice, or a timely selection of its non-judge members. The more effective steps are taken in terms of the court - which all our partners are observing - the faster we will restore the country's reputation”, Zourabichvili said. 

The State Department imposed visa restrictions on four judges - Levan Murusidze, Valerian Tsertsvadze, Mikheil Chinchaladze and Irakli Shengelia - on Wednesday for their “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”.