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Opposition leader says Georgia should invite foreign judges

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 26
One of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, Giorgi Vashadze, believes the Georgian judicial system requires radical reforms and the active involvement of foreign professionals.

Vashadze has stated that some of the criminal cases must be considered by foreign judges, while business disputes must be adjudicated by representatives of the London Arbitration Representation to Georgia.

"Criminal cases relating to politicians, human rights and freedom of speech, should be adjudicated by foreign judges, who should be granted this mandate for a 10-15-year term, while business disputes should be considered by the London Arbitration Representation to Georgia,” he said.

He said the current Government of Georgia is only engaged with cosmetic reforms of the ‘vital system’ that only worsens the situation and causes question marks to be raised inside and outside the country.

Georgia’s Non-Governmental Organisations also often speak about the serious problems in Georgia’s justice system, selecting and appointing judges named one of the most severe issues.

They claim that openness and transparency of the selection process for the Supreme Court should be institutionalized in order to establish good practices.

They also stress that the process of selection of candidates should be more open and transparent.

“This will ensure the active involvement of the public and discussions on these issues in order to promote democratic values, respect of human rights and ideas of equality in the highest instances of the justice system,” Transparency International Georgia and several other NGOs said in a joint statement.

The head of Georgia’s Supreme Court, Nino Gvenetadze, said she did not agree with the remarks of the NGOs on the 'main issues' that concern the procedures of appointment and promotion of judges. According to her, the High Council of Justice protocols are open to public and media scrutiny and everything is carried out in a transparent manner.

"I cannot agree with the remarks of the NGOs that during interviews of judicial candidates we do not ask questions about human rights. We ask questions about all sensitive matters, and the Supreme Council consistently works on the improvement of the questions. As for the remark that judicial candidates are put in unequal situations, we really cannot confirm it, while transfer and promotion of judges are regulated by the Organic Law on Common Courts,” Gvenetadze said.

The Government also speaks about the need of fundamental reforms in justice and law-enforcement bodies, but they also say the process is complicated and requires time.

The Government also highlighted the ‘negative inheritance’ they received from the previous United National Movement (UNM) government, when, as they say, judges were victims of pressure and blackmail.