The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary Reacts to the XXVIII Extraordinary Judicial Conference

The XXVIII extraordinary judicial conference is scheduled for October 30, 2020. According to the agenda, the conference is supposed to appoint 2 judge members of the High Council of Justice of Georgia, including the Council Secretary.

The positions of judge members and Secretary became vacant when Giorgi Mikautadze was elected as the Chair of the Civil Law Chamber of the Supreme Court of Georgia on October 22, 2020. Following the legal requirement, Mikautadze left the Council; the second member of the Council, Revaz Nadaraia, whose term is expiring on April 8, 2021, voluntarily left his position prior to the end of the term.

In March-June 2021, the terms of four judge members and 5 non-judge members of the High Council of Justice are ending. Correspondingly, the Council will be practically renewed. The procedures for the selection of the Council members have to be revised. Thus, two guaranteed votes become crucially important for the Clan.

Holding the judicial conference a day before the election and selection of two new members and the Secretary of the Council, raise doubts with regard to the Judicial Clan’s intention to occupy strategically important and influential positions in the court system with an aim to insure the 4-year presence of members loyal and acceptable to the Clan in the High Council of Justice.

The Coalition wants to remind the public, that since 2012 the court system underwent several legislative changes. However, these changes have not affected the substance of the court system. The reason for that is the lack of political will, on the one hand, and the presence of a dominant group of judges – the Clan – using all levers to maintain its power, on the other. The Coalition believes that the court system can be truly reformed by changing the existing culture of informal management in the courts and empowering individual judges with the input of politicians and society.