US Department of State concerned by appointment of Supreme Court judges in Georgia
US Department of State concerned by the appointment of Supreme Court judges in Georgia
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.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also responded to the appointment of judges on Twitter.
“The United States is deeply troubled by the Georgian Parliament’s approval of Supreme Court nominees in contravention of the April 19 agreement. Ambitious judicial reform is critical to Georgia’s success”, Blinken wrote.
Despite appeals from the international community and non-governmental organizations to suspend the process, the parliament appointed 6 life-long judges of the Supreme Court.
This decision also violates the so-called ‘Charles Michel’s document’ that was signed by the political parties of Georgia as a result of mediations carried out by the head of the European Council. According to the document, until the judicial reform is carried out based on the opinion of the Venice Commission, parliament should refrain from appointing judges to the Supreme Court.
Statement of US Department of State
In addition to concerns over the appointment of judges, the State Department called on the Georgian authorities to implement the April 19 agreement and carry out transparent, inclusive judicial reforms “as agreed by Georgia’s political leaders, including the ruling party”.
According to US DoS, non-compliance with Charles Michel’s document will further undermine the confidence of the Georgian and international community in the judicial system of Georgia and jeopardize the democratic development of Georgia.
“Incomplete implementation of the April 19 agreement could also weaken investor confidence and diminish the resilience of Georgia’s political and social institutions”, the statement reads.
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 “clan formation” 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.