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Parliament Speaker: “Demonization” of Lifetime Judge Underway

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 4
Georgian Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze says that the opponents of the ruling Georgian Dream party are trying to “demonize” lifetime judge Levan Murusidze, appointed on January 27, 2018.

According to Kobakhidze, Murusidze "has become fundamentally independent" and this is why opponents launched a "political attack" against him.

“Murusidze’s demonetization took place. This was done primarily done by political opponents,” the speaker said, adding when the judge was appointed as the secretary of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) in 2013, no one paid attention to this.

“However, as soon as political opponents saw Murusidze became independent, they immediately started a political attack against him, "he said.

According to Kobakhidze, the opposition's task is to use specific individuals and cases to "completely discredit” the justice system.

A controversial judge, Levan Murusidze, who was elected as the Court of Appeals judge for 3 years in 2015, has now been appointed as a lifetime judge.

11 members of the HCOJ out of 15 voted in favor, following the nearly two-hour-long interview with the candidate who was the judge in high-profile 28-year-old Aleksandre Girgvliani murder case.

Non-judge members of the HCOJ, Ana Dolidze and Nazi Janezashvili say it is a “shame” that Murusidze was appointed as a lifetime judge.

“Levan Murusidze was elected with violation of all procedures. He will stay in the justice system as long as the whole clan is in the system,” Ana Dolidze stated.

However, the judge says said that for the last two years “there has been ongoing deliberate defamation against him, adding it is a lie that he is “incompetent, dishonest and biased.”

Murusidze also responded to the allegations that there is a “clan” of judges in the judicial system of Georgia, who rule the system and make decisions “favorable to their interests.”

“I am declaring with full responsibility that there is no clan is in court,” he stressed during the interview with the HCOJ.

A campaign against Murusidze’s reappointment was launched by opposition politicians and civil society activists.

The NGOs released a joint statement on December 29, saying Murusidze and the other judge Mikheil Chinchaladze should “immediately quit their posts.”

“Mikheil Chinchaladze and Levan Murusidze should leave the position of judges. Without this change, the prospect of development of the justice system and strengthening of independence is hard to imagine,” the statement reads.

The organizations say that there is a “clan” of influential people in the HCOJ “constantly fights against any different opinion in the council and the judiciary in general.”

“Members of the influential group enjoy the support of a certain section of government and part of parliamentarians,” the civil sector claims.

The non-governmental sector explains that Levan Murusidze was involved in the controversial cases of Aleksandre Girgvliani and Sulkhan Molashvili.

“With regard to these cases, the European Court of Human Rights severely criticized the court proceedings," the NGOs stressed.