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‘Decisive Battle’ against Biased Judges Launched

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 7
(TBILISI) --A member of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), an independent body responsible for unbiased judiciary, Anna Dolidze stated that the final battle has been launched against the “remnants of former Justice Minister,” currently wanted, Zurab Adeishvili.

Dolidze, who had served as deputy Defence Minister and then as the president’s parliamentary secretary, refereed to the judges under the previous United National Movement leadership, who would fulfill the demands of Adeishvili and other former state officials.

Dolidze made the statement prior to interviewing the judges who had applied for the lifetime appointment, as it has been allowed due to the change in the state constitution.

The High Council of Justice is scheduled to interview 17 judges who are willing to stay in judiciary for life and not for 10 years as before.

Those supporting the change believe that the life appointment will ensure more independence of judges; while others say that the Georgian judicial system has abundant of judges who used to deliver unfair verdicts and are still influenced by certain former or current state officials due to the previous wrongdoings.

“No concessions will be made and those judges to whom some question marks exist, and who will fail to meet the criteria, will not be appointed for life,” Dolidze said.

Georgian NGOs attended the interviews with judges last year.

The NGOs released a joint statement reading that the Council did not impartially handle appointments and the process was mostly superficial.

“The judges were asked questions of varying complexity. Some of them were treated in a particularly favorable way,” the statement read.

The NGOs believe the interviews demonstrated that the Council did not managed to make judicial appointments in a way that would not lead to doubts about partiality and assessment of candidates based on integrity and qualifications was not ensured.

The High Council of Justice underwent major changes in 2013.

According to the amendments, the High Council of Justice is now composed of 15 members.

8 members are elected by the self-governing body of judges, 5 members -by the Parliament of Georgia and one member is appointed by the president.

The HCOJ was created to coordinate the judiciary system and to promote the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary.

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