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New chairperson for Constitutional Court

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 24
At the end of last week, the plenum of the Constitutional Court, composed of eight judges of the court, elected the judge of the Constitutional Court, Zaza Tavadze, as a new chairperson.

Tavadze gained more votes to take the new position than his only opponent, the President’s nominee Irine Imerlishvili, who previously served as a Secretary of the National Security Council.

Tavadze’s election in the new role was criticized by some opposition factions, who said that the man had served in leading posts under the United National Movement (UNM) Government and so would not be capable of making unbiased decisions.

A member of the Free Democrats opposition party, Shalva Shavgulidze, said Tavadze was a close ally of Georgia’s ex-Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, who is currently wanted on several charges by Georgia’s law-enforcers.

“He [Tavadze] was Adeishvili’s deputy under the UNM leadership, the government which consisently violated human rights, and he wouldn’t have been able to stay in the post if he hadn’t met Adeishvili’s and the UNM’s demands. This means Tavadze can be obedient to any Government’s orders,” Shavgulidze said.

The new chairperson was also branded as unfavourable for UNM member David Darchiashvili, who said he was an inappropriate choice for the role.

Member of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party Manana Kobakhidze said the current Government ensured in the legislation head of the constitutional courts to be elected by judges, without any involvement of the Government or others.

The civil sector refrained from any comments, and claimed they would wait for the verdicts of the Constitutional Court on notorious cases.

Tavadze, 41, was supported by five of eight members of the Constitutional Court Plenum. His only opponent, Imerlishvili, received the other three votes.

Chairpersons of the Constitutional Court are generally elected for five years, but Tavadze will serve for only three years and seven months as he was appointed as a Court judge in 2010.

Unlike the Court chairperson, judges are elected for ten years.

No one has the right to serve in the Constitutional Court for more than a ten-year term.

The term of previous Constitutional Court chairperson Giorgi Papuashvili and Court judge Konstantine Vardzelashvili expired at the end of September, and President Giorgi Margvelashvili named Imerlishvili and his former Parliamentary Secretary Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze as new judges of the Constitutional Court.

All three branches of state powers participate in the formation of the Constitutional Court, which is composed of eight judges and a chairperson, on an equal basis: three members are appointed by the President of Georgia, three are elected by Parliament by not less than three fifths of the 150-seat legislative body, and three members are appointed by the Supreme Court.

Tavadze’s biographic info says that:

In 1999-2000 he was an adviser of the Ministry of Justice's western Imereti Regional Service for local self-governing bodies.

In 2000-2004 Tavadze was a leading expert on legal issues at the Public Servants Financial and Property Status Bureau of the Ministry of Justice.

In 2004 he was head of Legal Department of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation.

In 2004-2007 he was deputy chairman of Human Resources Department of the Office of Prosecutor General of Georgia.

From March 2007 until February 2008 he was chairman of the Human Resources Department of the Office of Prosecutor General of Georgia.

In 2008-2010 he held the position of Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia.