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From GYLA to High Council of Justice

By Khatia Kardava
Wednesday, January 10
Will President’s former Parliamentary Secretary bring ‘politics to justice’?

The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, appointed his Parliamentary Secretary Ana Dolidze as a member of the High Council of Justice. At the briefing held on January 8, Margvelashvili stated that he decided to appoint Dolidze on this position due to her “professionalism, courage and loyalty of her values which she proved many times over the years.”

From January 17, Dolidze will replace Vakhtang Mchedlishvili, whose 4-year term expires on January 16.

While presenting a new member of the Council, Margvelashvili spoke about the judiciary and the role of the justice system. According to the President, despite the expectations after 2012, justice system still fails to answer many questions.

"Generally speaking, the system of justice in the history of independent Georgia remains an axis of the Achilles, which is actually a problem for all the authorities. In the course of the change of power in 2012, we had all the expectations that the justice system would be improved thoroughly. Notwithstanding, the society’s trust to the judiciary system, it remains full of gaps,” Margvelashvili stated.

According to the President, the High Council of Justice with its aim to ensure independence of the judiciary, should become more transparent and effective. To achieve the goal, it is important to improve the legislative basis by having professional and principled people in the system.

Dolidze named three priorities that she intends to lead while being a member of the High Council of Justice.

"My main task will be to provide a service to the court that will be timely and of high quality; the second objective is to raise the trust of people to the judiciary, especially towards the High Council of Justice. This is possible via openness and accountability. The third task is also related to increasing trustworthiness and the authority of the judiciary by having professionals and worthy persons in the judiciary system,” she said.

Her appointment was met with controversy among different political and civil sector groups in Georgia. The representatives of non-governmental organizations were mainly positive about the news.

Sulkhan Saladze, chairman of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA), says that Dolidze has enough experience and qualifications to work in the High Council of Justice.

Sopho Verdzeuli, Director of Institutional Reform Program of Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, says the Council of Justice is facing many challenges.

"Today the Council experiences many challenges in regards to the human resources,” says Verdzeuli. “Her [Dolidze’s] experience, her adherence to principles ensures us that she will be open when communicating with professional groups and with the civil sector.”

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze criticized the appointment of Dolidze as a member of the High Council of Justice. As Parliament Speaker stated, “the President regularly puts forward his employees. This is a very bad trend.”

Vano Zardiashvili, the first deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Legal Issues also gives a negative assessment to Dolidze's membership in the Council of Justice. According to him, “Dolidze will bring politics to the council.”

A member of the High Council of Justice Dimitri Gvritishvili holds a more neutral opinion. He hopes that Dolidze “will not try to introduce political elements and will act as a part of the court.”

Dolidze graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2002.

In 2000-2001, she was an assistant of a program on Domestic Violence, Project in the Office of Georgia of Harmony International, and then a coordinator of the same program.

In 2004-2006, Dolidze was a chair of GYLA.

In 2008-2009, she was a researcher of Europe and Central Asia Program for Human Rights Watch.

In 2010-2011, Dolidze worked as the World Bank Consultant (USA).

From May 2015 to June 27, 2016 she was a Deputy Minister of Defense of Georgia.

On June 27, 2016, Dolidze was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary of the President of Georgia.

The High Council of Justice, which is the main coordinating body of the judiciary, has 15 members. It includes the Chair of the Supreme Court, eight judges elected by the Conference of Judges, and six non-judge members, five of whom are elected by the Parliament and one by the President.