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US Embassy Urges Georgian Gov’t to ‘Postpone’ Lifetime Judicial Appointments

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 22
(TBILISI) - The US Embassy to Georgia released a statement on May 18 in which it urged the government of Georgia to take steps for a more transparent judicial system until the country will have the judges with lifetime appointment.

The Embassy statement reads that Georgia has taken “great steps” in recent years to protect the independence of its judiciary.

The US Government supports parliament and its efforts to provide a legal framework that discourages improper judicial influence and informal governance.

“To foster greater public trust, we urge the government to adopt a transparent legal framework. This framework should guide the decision-making process governing future lifetime judicial appointments,” the US Embassy wrote.

The embassy recommended the Parliamentary Working Group for their review of the processes and grounds governing judicial discipline.

“We encourage the working group to draw on international principles and standards, which provide a thoughtful roadmap for reform. We urge the Working Group to adopt a transparent disciplinary system governed by clear and independent investigative procedures and standards of proof,” the Embassy stated and added that the increased transparency of the disciplinary process will improve public accountability and foster greater public confidence in the objectivity of the judicial system.

Anna Dolidze, a member of the High Council of Justice, of the body which is responsible for unbiased judiciary in Georgia, welcomed the Embassy statement and said that the Georgian government should take the advice into account.

“40 judges, appointed of lifetime, will be catastrophe for Georgia as the appointment process lacks transparency and accountability,” Dolidze stated.

Dolidze, who is one of 15 members of the High Council, has strongly opposed the lifetime appointment of several judges, stating that many of those who appealed for the life appointment have served the interests of the previous, United National Movement government.