Ruling Georgian Dream (GD) lawmaker Eka Beselia, together with her 8 partners within the party, submitted a legislative initiative to the parliament, asking for suspension of the appointment of judges for life tenure in the first and second instances of courts.
GD MP Beselia Calls for Suspension of Appointment of Judges for Life Tenure
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, February 8
The initiative is based on the article of the transitional provisions of the Constitution, according to which, the Supreme Council of Justice may not use the appointment of judges for life tenure until 31 December 2024, but use the probationary term instead.
The draft law was signed by the GD members: Gedevan Popkhadze, Sasha Erkvania, Zviad Kvachantiradze, Koba Narchemashvili, Levan Koberidze, Davit Chichinadze, Otar Chrdileli, Eka Beselia, Levan Gogichaishvili.
According to Beselia, it is necessary to reform the High School of Justice and that new judges enter the judiciary system as a result of the reform.
“This initiative has great importance for ensuring that the justice system is not closed and judges are not fully appointed for life tenure," Eka Beselia said.
The MP says the initiative is of great importance to ensure that the system is not closed down and the lifelong appointment of judges does not occur.
“I hope the majority will support this initiative which regulates appointment procedures of judges,” she added.
The issue became controversial after the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) nominated 10 candidate judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia for the life tenure. The list was disapproved by the non-judge members of the HCOJ, NGOs and some members of the majority, who claimed that the presented judges were working during the previous government too and have the reputation of “biased and corrupt” judges.
Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said the discussions over the issue have been postponed until spring, adding that the Parliament will define new procedures and criteria for nominating and electing judges, followed by the HCOJ endorsing an updated list of judges based on maximally open and transparent procedures.
After the increased criticism towards the list of candidates, the judges issued a statement, calling on the parliament not to consider their candidacies.
The judges claimed that “unethical and insulting” statements were made towards the nominated candidates and these statements “artificially turned into the unprecedented pressure campaign” against judicial power, where direct appeals were made regarding the dismissal of the Supreme Council of Justice and expel of the judges, including ones into the presented list.
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated in late January that the society should have a feeling that there are objective criteria and procedures for the selection of judges, adding everyone should be involved in the determination of criteria and procedures for the selection of judges.