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NGOs criticize closing of judges appointing process

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, August 18
Non-governmental Organizations criticize the closing of the process of the appointment of judges. They say that the changes made in the process of selecting and appointing judges in July creates the image of poor transparency and openness.

The third sector states that before July 2014, the process of appointment of judges was open and the results were known immediately, but after a new justice rule was adopted, only members of the Council are present at the process and the results are published after a delay.

The Head of the information and Freedom Development Institute, Giorgi Kldiashvili, criticizes the closing of the judicial appointment process and says that it is a step backwards. He does not exclude that behind the closed doors, the judges might be under pressure.

“There is a great interest towards the judicial candidates from the side of public and the openness of the process would avoid many negative issues,” he said.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Transparency international (TI) and 42nd Article of the Constitution released a joint statement, in which they say that it is unacceptable that the process of judicial appointment is closed.

Moreover, according to them, the information regarding voting for candidates was published on the website only after delays, which took away the opportunity to interested persons to attend and evaluate the process.

“We believe that the openness of the judicial selection and appointment process is necessary in order to ensure the transparency and trust from the side of public towards the court system,” the statement reads.

The executive director of GYLA, Tamar Gvaramadze, called upon the government to reconsider the issue.

“We call upon the Justice Council to evaluate the upcoming risks, which will follow the closure of the judicial appointment process,” she said.

The opposition party, the United National Movement, also criticized the majority for closing of the process, saying that the government is “constantly trying to influence the Court System”.

The government says that the process is transparent.

According to the majority MP Giorgi Volski, the closed voting is carried out by the Justice Council but the process is “absolutely open for media and NGOs as well.”