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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 10
Law in relation to taking child delivered by surrogate mother abroad to be stiffened

The law is planned to be stiffened in relation to taking a child born in Georgia by means of surrogacy abroad.

The Justice Ministry plans to offer the bill on the matter to the parliament.

According to the bill which is planned to be initiated, a child delivered by a surrogate mother will be allowed to be taken abroad only if both parents’ names are registered on the birth certificate.

According to the Justice Ministry, a foreign ID card issued by another country’s government authorities alone will not be enough for taking a child abroad from Georgia. (IPN)

Citing ‘Flawed’ Rules, Groups Call for Suspending Judicial Appointments

Criticizing existing rules for judicial appointments as “unfair, nontransparent and unconstitutional”, a group of legal advocacy, watchdog and human rights organizations have called on the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) to suspend ongoing process of selecting and appointing new judges.

The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary, a group uniting dozens of non-governmental organizations, said a complaint will be filed with the Constitutional Court claiming that the current rule of selecting and appointing judges is in conflict with the constitution. The coalition argues that the existing rules, which is made by HCoJ members through a secret ballot, does not require the body to provide any justification for its decision, and judicial candidates have no possibility to appeal decisions in court.

The issue of judicial appointments has become contentious especially after the HCoJ’s highly controversial decision to re-appoint Girgvliani case judge Levan Murusidze in late December. The criticism of the HCoJ further intensified after the chairman of Tbilisi City Court, Mamuka Akhvlediani, alleged earlier this month that the answers to judge certification exams were leaked from the HCoJ to at least one of the candidates. Akhvlediani says that after voicing these allegations, the HCoJ launched disciplinary proceedings against him.

Newly appointed or re-appointed judges will serve before retirement following a three-year probationary period, according to the current rules.

The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary has also launched a petition which calls for the suspense of the process, stating that the HCoJ’s decisions on judicial appointments, as well as on disciplinary proceedings, “demonstrate the fact that they are not made on the basis of objective factors and criteria”.

“On the contrary, these decisions are governed by interests and agreements made in conspiracy among different power groups,” reads the petition. “The current crisis, unhealthy influences on judges and attempts of specific groups to gain control over them, is supported by flawed legislation. As a result of this process, the High Council of Justice appoints and rejects judicial candidates without providing any justification; the Council avoids consideration of minimal selection criteria established in the legislation and does not ensure fairness of the process, which should aim to select candidates based on merit; the decisions to appoint or reject a judicial candidate cannot be appealed.”

President Giorgi Margvelashvili also raised this issue in his annual state of the nation address in Parliament on February 3 and called on lawmakers to consider reforming the HCoJ by making it possible to appeal the Council’s decisions on judicial appointments in the Supreme Court; distributing nine seats, allocated for judges in the HCoJ, evenly between representatives of all three levels of courts (City Courts; Appeals Courts and Supreme Court); strengthening of the role of a legal consultative council at the Supreme Court, including in respect of HCoJ’s decision-making process over appointment of new judges. (

Mikheil Saakashvili - the Lazika port project has lost majority of its original benefits

According to Georgia's ex-president and the current governor of Odessa, Mikheil Saakashvili, the Lazika port project has lost the majority of its starting benefits, as it was not opened in time.

Saakashvili posted his statement on Facebook.

"The Russian oligarch's victory in the 2012 elections, apart from other negative effects, caused the suspension of the Lazika port construction. I was going to open the port by the end of 2013.

“Now, due to the collapse of the economy, they returned to my projects, which they had been so mercilessly ridiculing and criticizing.

“Unfortunately, the Lazika port project has lost the majority of its original benefits. I wanted to open it to help with the transfer of troops and military goods from Afghanistan, which is traditionally very profitable. For example, the port of Singapore port developed in this way,” said Saakashvili. (IPN)