Public Defender's Proposal concerning Violation of Norms of Judicial Ethics
On October 24, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Chairperson of the Supreme Court and the Secretary of the High Council of Justice with a proposal to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the judge who violated the norms of the judicial ethics during discussing the alleged ill-treatment of the defendants - B.Sh. and K.G.
In the guilty verdict delivered against B.Sh. and K.G., the judge indicated that the statements made by the defendants at the trial about their ill-treatment by police officers were not persuasive. It should be taken into consideration that the subject of the trial was not the ill-treatment of the defendants by law enforcement officers but the establishment of culpability of the defendants.
The judge’s decision to describe the defendants’ statements about ill-treatment as doubtful without an effective investigation or relevant evidence represents serious threat to the fight against ill-treatment. Such a conclusion of the judge may stimulate the law enforcement agencies to avoid the obligation of conducting a quick, thorough, impartial and independent investigation. Similar cases may be additional hindering factor for an effective investigation.
The court should administer justice - establish whether defendants are guilty; it is not authorized to establish whether a crime was committed against defendants or not and should only make a decision on the launch/non-launch of an investigation.
According to the Public Defender of Georgia, similar actions contradicts the judicial ethics, in particular, it violates the principle of performing duties fairly and honestly and prevents the establishment of public faith in the impartial and fair justice system.