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NGOs demand to select Justice Council Candidates transparently

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, June 7
Six Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have addressed the Parliament of Georgia with the request to provide a transparent and fair selection process of High Council of Justice (HCOJ) members.

The term of 4 HCOJ members, selected by Parliament, expires on June 14. These members are Eva Gotsiridze, Gocha Mamulashvili, Kakha Sopromadze and Vakhtang Todria.

The NGOs claim that current legislation regulating the election of the members of the HCOJ does not envisage a process based on the transparent and professional assessment of the election of the Council members.

“Although we could not make changes in the regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, we urge Parliament to ensure the fair and transparent process of selection of the members of the HCOJ, based on the competencies of the candidates,” the statement of the NGOs reads.

The third sector also added that it is important to take into account gender equality issues during the process.

Representatives of academic circles, the lawyers’ association and non-governmental organizations working in legal issues have the right to nominate a candidate for the High Council of Justice.

The HCOJ is an independent organ, created to co-ordinate the judiciary system and to promote the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary.

The main functions of the HCOJ are the organization of qualification exams of judges, the selection and appointment of judges of trial and appellate courts, disciplinary proceedings, legislative drafting and analytical work, quality management and fostering a relationship with the public.

The High Council of Justice establishes regional and appellate courts and specialized court panels. The Council defines the territorial jurisdiction of regional and appellate courts and number of judges, territorial jurisdiction, the number and composition of magistrate judges, the composition of court panels, the number and composition of Chambers of appellate courts and investigative panel, specialization of regional court judges.

The Council consists of 15 members and it is chaired by the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Common courts are represented in the Council by the Chairman of the Supreme Court and 8 members elected by Conference of Judges of Georgia, including the Secretary of the High Council of Justice. Parliament’s quota is four members and the President of Georgia is represented in the Council by two members appointed by him personally.