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NGOs Call on President to Timely Name Supreme Court Chair Candidate

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 6
Several Georgia-based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) call on the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili to shortly name the candidate for the Supreme Court Chair, which became vacant after Nino Gvenetadze, Georgia’s First female Chair of the Supreme Court, decided to step down on August 2.

The new chair will be elected for the 10-year term and so far, until the presidential elections on October 28, the president is authorized to name the candidate and send it to the parliament for approval.

However, after the new president is elected, a new edition of the constitution enters into force, which no longer grants the president such authority. Instead, the Chairman of the Supreme Court will be a member of the Supreme Court, and the High Council of Justice shall submit the candidate to the Parliament.

The non-governmental sector believes the fact that naming the nominee of the Chairmanship of the Supreme Court will soon become the prerogative of the High Council of Justice will significantly increase the risk of concentration of power in the hands of some influential judges.

The NGOs say that Gvenetadze’s resignation caused many questions.

“During Gvenetadze’s three-year term, although she did not adequately react to the existing problems in the judiciary system, it was obvious that she opposed some influential judges,” the statement of the NGOs reads.

President’s Parliamentary Secretary Ana Natsvlishvili said the President aims to select a candidate for the Supreme Court through the as broad involvement of the society as possible, adding this means the participation of all essential groups and institutions, and the parliament.

“This is a process that involves both the parliament and the president, but it also involves important actors - social, professional groups, people with qualifications and experience that can give precious advice,” Natsvlishvili stated.

According to her, the consultations will start by with the meeting with the academic circles.

“This will not be a closed process. We will involve all important actors and institutions to strengthen this process and make it healthy," she added.

Last Thursday, Gvenetadze, 54, who also chaired the High Council of Justice, an independent body responsible for the fair judiciary in Georgia, stated that she decided to resign due to the poor health condition, adding she needed to undergo several-month lengthy treatment abroad.

Opposition parties doubt the Supreme Court Chair resigned due to some high-profile cases, adding health issue was just an excuse to avoid explanations.

However, the Georgian Dream majority says nothing is surprising if a person, at such a responsible and high position, develops some severe health problems.

Gvenetadze was elected as the Chair of the Supreme Court for ten years in 2015. Non-governmental sector and the opposition parties did not assess her three-year term as fruitful.