US and EU Ambassadors call for postponement of judiciary appointments
US and EU Ambassadors call for postponement of judiciary appointments

US Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, hopes the High Council of Justice will postpone judiciary appointments. Ambassador believes that the appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Council of Justice should be suspended until judicial reforms envisaged in the April 19 agreement are endorsed.

“The procedure for appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Council of Justice is not in line with the April 19 agreement. The parties agreed to adopt substantive reform in the judiciary, including in selections, appointments, promotions. A new and reformed system should be introduced through a broad, inclusive, and cross-party process. That is why we called for the postponement of the scheduled meeting until July. There is a lot of time to implement reforms. We hope that the Council will take this into account and postpone the selection process,” US Ambassador said.

EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzell, welcomes the fact that the working group plans to discuss the judicial reform issues. Ambassador believes that the judiciary appointments should not be carried out through a rushed process.

“We believe that the appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Council of Justice should be paused,” EU Ambassador said.

The EU and the US Ambassadors called on the parliament on Saturday “to start inclusive discussions on the institutional reform of the High Council of Justice and, accordingly, to revise the rules for judicial appointments to courts, for handling disciplinary measures against judges, and to introduce transparent and comprehensive systems of appraisals, promotions, and transfers of judges and judicial staff in line with international standards and best practices. These discussions should include civil society, the Georgian Bar Association, the Public Defender, and the opposition.”

Georgian Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava echoed the joint letter of Ambassadors on May 23. Kuchava pledges that when making the judiciary-related decisions, the Georgian parliament would act based on the Constitution, the legislation, the principle of independence of the judiciary, and the 19 April Mediation Agreement.

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