Public Defender’s Statement on Submission of 6 Supreme Court Judicial Candidates to Parliament

Yesterday, on December 26, the High Council of Justice submitted 6 Supreme Court judicial candidates to the Parliament of Georgia. The Public Defender identified the same shortcomings that had been identified at previous stages of the selection process.

The selection of the above 6 candidates was conditioned by the decision made by the Parliament on December 12, 2019, on the basis of which, 14 candidates were appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Judicial candidates were shortlisted for the remaining 6 vacancies among 32 candidates by secret ballot, without any substantiation.

13 members of the High Council of Justice participated in the ballot. 7 ballot papers were identified with one and the same 6 out of total of 32 candidates circled. All of them moved to the next stage and were further submitted to the Parliament of Georgia after 2/3 of all members of the Council supported them in a ballot held on the same day. 5 out of the 6 candidates received the support of 10 members of the Council, while one candidate (Giorgi Tkavadze) was supported by 11.

All 6 candidates were interviewed by the High Council of Justice this summer and were granted scores; one candidate (Paata Silagadze) had already been submitted to the Parliament and had been interviewed by the Legal Affairs Committee, but he failed to receive sufficient support to be elected to the Supreme Court. Among 48 candidates,1 the above 6 candidates ranked 14th, 19th, 21st, 27th, 30th and 32nd according to their scores. The High Council of Justice has not submitted to the Parliament the candidates ranked 13th, 17th, 18th, 25th, 28th, 29th or 31st either during the first stage, or now. The above indicates that despite rating the candidates' competence with scores, the amount of points granted have not been a determining factor in the selection of candidates. At the same time, given the anonymity of the rating process and the lack of substantiation, it is also difficult to say that the candidates with the highest scores are better candidates in terms of competence or conscientiousness.

The Public Defender has disputed the constitutionality of the norms used for the selection of Supreme Court judges at the Constitutional Court. Given the gaps in the legislation and serious problems in its implementation, endorsement of the decisions made by the High Council of Justice by the Parliament has a further detrimental effect on the situation of justice in the country.

1The candidates who were interviewed and rated in the High Council of Justice.

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