US Ambassador to Georgia is 'disappointed' by the appointment of Supreme Court judges
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said that “sanctions are one of the US levers” and that the US is very disappointed with the decision of the Georgian parliament to approve the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court.
This is the second time in a week that the US talks about possible sanctions against Georgia. Earlier, the press secretary of the US State Department, Ned Price, made a statement on the possible use of sanctions against Georgia in assessing the events of July 5-6.
The US State Department issued a statement expressing concern over the approval of six Supreme Court judges by the Georgian parliament on July 12 and urging the authorities to implement the April 19 agreement.
Despite appeals from the international community and non-governmental organizations to suspend the process, the parliament appointed 6 life-long justices of the Supreme Court.
This decision also violates the so-called. Charles Michel’s document was signed by the political parties of Georgia as a result of the mediation of the head of the European Council. It says, in particular, that the judicial reform should be based on the opinion of the Venice Commission of June 24, 2019, parliament should refrain from appointing judges to the Supreme Court.
“I think the statements by the Embassy, the US Department of State, and the US Secretary of State show that we are very disappointed with this process after many meetings, after which we demanded to suspend [the appointment of judges]. Georgia’s political leaders, including the ruling party, have agreed that appointments will be suspended until a multi-party, inclusive judicial reform is implemented, which has not happened yet. Therefore, we are disappointed with the appointment of judges”, the US Ambassador told reporters.
According to her, the parliament could have stopped the process, but did not.
“I would say that the statements of the United States, including the Secretary of State, are not hasty. These are expressions of concern about Georgia, a strategic partner, which should be taken seriously”, said Kelly Degnan.
- US Department of State concerned by appointment of Supreme Court judges in Georgia
- European Commission: Appointment of judges can negatively affect the allocation of aid to Georgia
For years, NGOs have argued that the judiciary is run by a so-called “clan” that is subordinate to the government and makes decisions that are beneficial to the authorities.
The “clan of judges” is also mentioned in a 2021 US State Department report, which states that “clan” suppresses critical views and hinders the independence of the judiciary.
Non-governmental organizations, as well as former Council of Justice member Nazi Dzhanezashvili, have called on the government to suspend appointments to the Supreme Court.
Citizens’ protest was also triggered by a conference of judges on May 26, which elected four members of the High Council of Justice. The conference was preceded by criticism from various NGOs, diplomats and Nazi Janezashvili, who characterized the process of appointing four judges to the council as “preparing the clan” and noted that this would increase the clan’s influence over the next few years. According to her, if the process is not stopped, the clan will have full authority to freely appoint judges.