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Draft on Courts on agenda

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 27
Discussions over the draft of courts are ongoing. After postponing the third and the final reading over the draft, the parliamentary minority considers that some changes might be brought into the draft and the opponents might find a common language on the problematic issues. It has also been emphasized that the non-governmental sector will be involved in the discussions over the draft until the parliament provides the draft for confirmation in the next week.

The parliamentary minority claims that the majority should take the Venice Commission’s recommendations into consideration concerning the draft. UNM members especially stress two issues– leading figures of the courts and other related institutions should not be changed at once and the opposition should have an opportunity to influence the process of electing 6 members of the Supreme Council of Justice by the parliament.

“The fact that the final reading was postponed leaves space that the minority and majority will manage to agree on the problematic points,” UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili stated, adding that in case if the opposition's remarks are not taken into consideration and the Venice Commission’s recommendations are not foreseen, the president will veto the draft.

“It is possible and even necessary for the president to veto the draft if the majority and minority cannot reach an agreement,” Darchiashvili stated.

The parliamentary majority is open for consultations and collaboration over the issue with the minority. According to the MPs Eka Beselia and Tina Khidasheli, the majority and minority might reach a consensus over the issue. The majority representatives also underscored that the Venice Commission positively assessed most of the draft and the main recommendations of the Commission have already been taken into account.

NGO sector representatives state that the draft on courts will encourage better performance of the court system. However, they think that the recommendations of the Venice Commission should be completely implemented.

“Lots of important innovations will be brought through the draft and the content of the draft was accepted by the Venice Commission. However, in general, even if all the recommendations are not taken to account, the draft will create a better court system,” head of the Young Lawyers’ Association Kakha Kozhoridze stated, adding that GYLA does not support all acting members of the Supreme Council of Justice to be dismissed at once when the draft is confirmed.

This attitude was shared by the head of Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri. She thinks that all the members should not be sacked together.

“The process should be carried out step-by-step. The attitude towards the judge members of the Council should be different and they should be allowed to continue their duties there. As for the other members they could be changed as the rule of their appointment will be modified,” Gigauri said.

The Prime Minister’s adviser, Tamar Chugoshvili, stated that the NGOs role in the process has always been significant and their recommendations will be taken into account as well.

The Venice Commission underscored that the amendments to the Organic Law of Georgia on the Courts of General Jurisdiction suggested by the new government have “improved many provisions of the organic law and will bring this law closer to European standards.”

However, the commission had some remarks concerning certain issues, including the formation of the High Council of Justice. The Venice Commission recommended against the complete renewal of the council, even though the composition of the current HCoJ “seems unsatisfactory.”

The Supreme Council of Justice consists of 14 members. 6 of them are appointed and 8 are judges who were confirmed by the self-governing body of the Conference of Judges.