The High Council of Justice (HCOJ), an independent body responsible for unbiased judiciary in Georgia, has initiated a change on Saturday which may become the reason of dismissal of its members who had been appointed in the role by the president or parliament.
High Council of Justice Initiates Change to ‘Dismiss’ its Undesirable Members
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 25
The initiative, pushed forward by the part of the 15-member body, says that all the members of the council should be subjected to uniform deontological liabilities, violation of which will be regarded as a disciplinary offence and may lead to disciplinary penalties, including a dismissal.
The non-judge members of the council say that the initiative aims to silence the members of the body, which are criticizing the council’s activities and are fighting for a fair justice system.
Nazi Janezashvili, a non-judge member of the High Council of Justice says that if the council adopts the change, it will be a “dragon law” as it had not been agreed by all the members of the body and that the amendment may challenge the freedom of expression.
“We [non-judge members] had no information about the initiative,” Janezashvili said.
Anna Dolidze, a non-judge member of the council, who was appointed by the president, strictly opposes the initiative and is fighting against the life appointment of the judges “who used to meet the demands of authorities” in previous years.
A majority of the judges, who had applied for the life appointment, protested against Dolidze’s presence during their interviews.
Dolidze filed a lawsuit against the decision which she lost in the City Court. The lawsuit is now in the Court of Appeals.
The High Council of Justice underwent major changes under the Georgian Dream leadership in 2013.
According to the amendments, the High Council of Justice is now composed of 15 members.
Eight members are elected by the self-governing body of judges, five 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 functions 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.
The latest amendments in the law enable judges to be appointed for life. For this, they have to address the High Council of Justice and receive a consent of the majority of its members.
Judges were appointed for 10 years before the amendments.