U.S. Ambassador to Georgia: we are disappointed with the hasty appointment of judges
US disappointed with rushed appointment of judges to Supreme Court
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said the United States is disappointed that the process of appointing Supreme Court justices has continued, despite an agreement that this would not happen until the judicial reform was carried out.
On December 1, parliament appointed four candidates to the permanent positions in the Supreme Court: Tamar Okropiridze, Gennady Makaridze, Nino Sandodze, and Teya Dzimistarashvili.
The ruling Georgian Dream party claims that the process is unprecedentedly transparent and does not raise questions while the representatives of the opposition and non-governmental organizations are categorically opposed to the appointment. They say the ruling party should suspend the selection of Supreme Court justices pending fundamental reforms.
Neither the Office of the Public Defender nor the EU Delegation attended the interviews with the candidates.
For years, non-governmental organizations have argued that the judiciary is run by a so-called clan, which often makes decisions that are beneficial to the government. This point was also noted in the Charles Michel agreement of April 19.
Later, the US Ambassador also made several statements. However, the authorities did not suspend the appointment process and continued to appoint permanent members of the Supreme Court.
Kelly Degnan noted that she does not understand why it was necessary to speed up the process.
“There are 5 vacancies for non-judicial members in the High Council of Justice, these positions have been vacant for months, and for some reason, no one was in a hurry to fill them. According to the Georgian constitution, they represent the opinion of the people in the judicial system.
It is therefore difficult to explain why the process of appointing judges accelerated when the same people in parliament, including members of the ruling party, agreed on the need for a comprehensive reform of the judicial system.
I hope Georgians understand the need for such a reform”, the US Ambassador said.