Legal reform, News

Two seats still vacant in Georgia’s court oversight council

by | Jun 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, two seats still remain vacant in the High Council of Justice after an election that has been going on for two weeks.

Four more members were elected by parliament in the second round, but due to objections by representatives from the United National Movement, two places are still vacant.

The election is a part of a new reform of the court system to change the way members are elected for the High Council of Justice, a body which conducts oversight over the country’s courts and issues disciplinary measures against judges. The reform, which was also confirmed by the Venice Commission, is still unacceptable for members of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party and the president even blocked the draft amendments, but the parliament overturned his veto and enforced it with the signature of the speaker of parliament.

Under the new rules, there are 15 members in the High Council of Justice, which controls the court system, nine of which are judges and six are non-judge members. A conference of judges June 9 elected the judge members. Kote Kublashvili, head of the Supreme Court, is also a member of the council.

None-judge members are selected by the parliament from candidates presented by academic groups.

A second round was conducted on Friday in order to appoint the remaining six non-judge members, because in the first round UNM members didn’t participate in this process as a sign of protest. It was not possible to confirm new members without their participation. A 2/3 majority, or 100 votes, is needed to confirm them, but the Georgian Dream coalition doesn’t have enough seats for this and needs help from the UNM.

Non-governmental organizations and Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association nominated 29 candidates for the first tour of the election, but none of them gathered the necessary 2/3 majority.

In the second tour it was already possible to be elected by 76 votes, more than half of MPs but two members weren’t supported by Saakashvili’s party members.

Their argument was that there is no common position with Georgian Dream representatives on candidates.

As result two places are still vacant and Speaker of Parliament Davit Uusupashvili said that a new competition will be announced in order to fill these places.

But still 100 votes will be needed to select those two.

The new confirmed members of the council are Gocha Mamulashvili, who was presented by the Caucasus University; Eva Gotsiridze, University of Georgian Patriarchate, Vakhtang Tordia, Foundation of Community Programs and Kakhaber Sopromadze, Association of Free Development and Rights protection.

 



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