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Georgian candidates for European court selected

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 30
A special 13-member commission headed by Georgia’s Justice Minister selected five candidates out of 23 for the position of a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judge, after last year the court rejected the Georgian candidates and the country had to re-announce the competition.

Lado Chanturia, Sophie Japaridze, Shota Getsadze, Tamar Alania and Irakli Dondoladze are the five candidates who were selected by the commission for their qualifications in law and their knowledge of either French or English.

However, the head of Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association, Ana Natsvlishvili, stated after the nominees were announced that the competition was “unfairly conducted”, with some “very strong candidates rejected and some less qualified being chosen”.

Just before the selection of the five, out of which the Government of Georgia must select only three and the European Court only one, Georgia’s former head of the Constitutional Court, Giorgi Papuashvili, who served as Justice Minister under the United National Movement leadership, saidhe removed his own candidacy from the process.

Papuashvil claimed he did not trust the 13-member commission, composed of the members of all three governments, NGOs and courts, and said he was disliked by the head of the commission, Georgia’s justice minister Thea Tsulukiani.

A total of 24 candidates were selected for the third stage of interviews, but after Papuashvili stepped back, 23 now remain.

David Jandieri, who also ran for the position, said he also had certain doubts over the commission and the term specified for the selecting process, as the nominees should be selected in March and the process was postponed until now.

Another competitor, Tamar Alania, meanwhile said she trusted the commission, which apart from government figures also includes NGOs, the Ombudsman and a representative from the Bar Association.

This is arepeated competition, as last year the ECtHR rejected all three candidates nominated by the Government of Georgia.

The opposition claims that in the frame of the commission the same may happen, which will be a huge dent tothe country’s image.

Their statements have been dismissed by the government, who accuse those opposing the commission of meeting only their own “narrow political interests.”

In February last year, the Governmental commission selected five candidates for the role, namely current Deputy Minister of Justice Aleksandre Baramidze; Giorgi Badashvili, a Georgian lawyer at the ECtHR; the President’s Parliamentary representative, Anna Dolidze; Georgia’s High Council of Justice member, Eva Gotsiridze; and human rights expert Nana Mchedlidze.

Later, the Government selected three nominees, Baramidze, Gotsiridze and Badashvili, and sent their nominations to the Court.

However, the Court did not select even a single candidate for the position.

A total of 68 individuals were involved in the repeated competition, which was announced on February 21, 2017. In April, the commission selected 25 candidates and summoned them to take a test in a language, either in English or French, with 24 candidates managing to pass the exam.