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“My dismissal is a direct persecution”

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 24
The former head of the Tbilisi City Court, Mamuka Akhvlediani, who was dismissed by the High Council of Justice on February 22, is going to appeal his dismissal.

According to Akhvlediani, his dismissal was illegal and is connected to his public statements, in which he criticized the High Council of Justice and its activities. He explained that he was unwell and asked the High Council to give him time for recovery. However, he claims they did not give him any time to recuperate.

“I was not allowed to state my position. I tried to reach nearly every member of the Council and nobody answered. They did not wait even for five hours and made a decision to dismiss me. It is direct persecution,” said Akhvlediani.

Akhvlediani believes that the head of the High Council, Nino Gvenetadze (and every other member), should resign.

“I made the court system more transparent and the problems that I helped solve will re-emerge after my dismissal,” stated Akhvlediani at a meeting with various Non-Governmental Organizations on February 23.

It should be mentioned that out of the 12 members of the High Council of Justice , 11 voted for Akhvlediani’s dismissal. The only member of the Council who voted against his dismissal was Vakhtang Mchedlishvili, appointed by President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Eight members of Council are judges. Four members were appointed by Parliament.

The official reason of Akhvlediani’s dismissal was said to be poor management.

The Chair of the Supreme Justice Council commented on the dismissal of the Tbilisi City Court Head.

According to Nino Gveneradze, the main reasons behind their decision were chronic management problems, which were caused by Mamuka Akhvlediani’s poor decisions and leadership.

Nino Gvenetadze reiterated that the decision of Akhvlediani’s dismissal is not linked to his recent public statements.

"The primary reason for his dismissal is linked to proceedings and poor management. He failed to distribute cases properly, which caused significant complications,” Gvenetadze said.

The Secretary of the High Council, Levan Murusidze, said that Akhvlediani “ignored” requests of the council to meet and discuss issues that he was raising, as well as complaints the council had against him.

“Akhvlediani is dismissed only from the duty of manager. He still remains a judge of the civil court and he can express his position whenever he wants. I do not see any act of repression against him in our decision,” said Murusidze.

Representatives of the parliamentary majority say that the MPs should not interfere in judiciary issues. Meanwhile, the minority believes that this incident is a sign of the ongoing problems within the judicial system.

"This decision is not politically motivated. This is an independent decision of the Council of Justice and the parliament should not interfere in decision making process of the Council,” said Eka Beselia, a chair of the Human Rights’ Committee.

According to Irma Nadirashvili, a member of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, this decision was taken by ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, because he wants to exercise complete control over the judiciary.

"This judge, who has been causing problems, was dismissed from the position of chairman of the City Court", Nadirashvili said.

Third sector representatives see question marks hanging over the dismissal of the Tbilisi City Court Chair and say that the work of the High Council is not transparent. A number of NGOs believe that Akhvlediani’s dismissal constitutes an act of persecution against him.

"This process must be justified by law, otherwise it leaves the impression of a selective approach and Akhvlediani`s persecution," stated a member of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Ana Natsvlishvili.

The Executive Director of Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri, says that Akhvlediani’s dismissal is an example how different ideas are persecuted within the court system.

“After this case, the Georgian court system should not claim to be transparent,” she added.

Giorgi Ebanoidze, a chairman of the Civil Chamber of Tbilisi City Court was appointed as the acting Head of the Tbilisi City Court, after Akhvlediani’s dismissal.

Mamuka Akhvlediani was also dismissed from the position of Chair of the Criminal Chamber, being replaced by Eka Areshidze.