Transparency International Georgia and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association refused today to present their annual monitoring report on the High Council of Justice of Georgia, as a sign of the protest. TI Georgia explained in an official statement that the authorities are “failing to take effective measures” to address deep problems in the judiciary:
“[The] monitoring reports constantly suggest that the HCoJ uses its powers against the interests of justice, instead of protecting them. Failure of the Ministry of Justice - the entity responsible for the reform - and the legislative authorities to act, and [the] inadequacy of changes that they have made, grants the HCoJ absolute arbitrariness, which has led to a crisis in the judicial system. However, the authorities are failing to take effective measures in response to all this.
The authorities often state that a comprehensive reform of the judiciary requires time and the important thing is that the reform is on the right track, which is misleading, and a way to escape from responsibility. The judiciary reform in Georgia is not on the right track, and the three waves of the reform that have been implemented so far have not resulted in any tangible results. Individuals not trusted by [the] public and viewed as incompetent are returning back to the judicial system, and this time – permanently; moreover, they are appointed to high administrative positions. The reins of the judiciary continue to be concentrated into the hands of a single group, transforming the judiciary into a closed corporate system. Such developments can only take place if they are supported by the political authorities,” reads the statement issued by TI Georgia.
“GYLA and Transparency International – Georgia continue to monitor the Council and to actively address the problems and challenges faced by the judiciary. However, the Coalition urges the Parliament of Georgia to create a parliamentary format for addressing the crisis in the judicial system and to immediately start working on a comprehensive package of reforms. The Coalition is ready to actively engage in the process and to cooperate for preparing all changes that will promote a healthy judicial system and increase public trust in the judiciary.”
The latest report by TI Georgia and GYLA can be read in full here.
The main problems identified in the report include a lack of pluralism of opinions in the High Council of Justice, transparency and efficiency issues in logistical activities, gaps in the appointment of judges and chairpersons and admission of trainees.
TI Georgia and GYLA have been monitoring the activities of the High Council of Justice of Georgia since 2012, within the framework of the project ‘Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia’ (PROLoG), financed by USAID.