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NGO Calls For Reduced Corruption Risks in the Court

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 6
One of the most influential local NGOs, Transparency International Georgia, has released a report, where it calls on the current state leadership to take steps to reduce corruption risks in the court system.

The NGO believes that the government of Georgia should implement the legislative amendments aiming at reducing exaggerated authorities of the High Council of Justice, an independent body which is responsible for unbiased judiciary in the country.

"The law must ensure transparency of the appointment of judges and institutional and functional independence of the High School of Justice. Such independence will facilitate attraction of professional candidates of future judges,” the Transparency International Georgia says.

The organization stated requirements - competence and fairness of candidates must become mandatory during the process of appointment of judges.

The NGO also says that the judicial accountability mechanisms should be strengthened.

The High Council of Justice of Georgia, which is responsible to appoint judges, is often grilled by the opposition and several members of the council.

Anna Dolidze, who was appointed in the council by the president of Georgia, openly criticizes the council’s activities and asks for the temporal suspension of the life appointment of judges.

She says that judges who had served the previous or current government interests will be appointed for life.

The High Council of Justice underwent major changes in 2013, under the Georgian Dream leadership.

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 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 organizing qualification exams for judges, selection and appointment of judges of trial and appellate courts, disciplinary proceedings, legislative drafting and analytical work, quality management and public relations.

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 consent of the majority of its members.

Judges were appointed for 10 years before the amendments.