Public Defender’s Speech at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of OSCE Participating States
On 23 September 2019, the Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria, opened the Rule of Law Session at the 2019 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of OSCE Participating States in the Polish Capital of Warsaw. While addressing participants of the meeting, the Georgian Public Defender spoke about the human rights challenges in Georgia and in the region. She was the only head of a national human rights institution to receive such an honor this year.
Nino Lomjaria talked about the independence of the judiciary, democratic law-making, ensuring equal enjoyment of rights and equal participation in political and public rights.
Speaking of democratic law-making process and equal participation, the Public Defender referred to the challenges relating to the equal participation of under-represented groups, such as women, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities, in politics and decision-making process. According to her, it is difficult to talk about equal participation, when 53% of the country's population is women, but their voice in the decision-making process is not reached up to 20%.
In terms of independence of the Judiciary, the Public Defender expressed regret over the drawbacks in the system of common courts.
Nino Lomjaria also spoke about the process of election of Supreme Court judges and the opinions of the Public Defender of Georgia, Venice Commission and ODIHR relating to the legislative amendments to the rules of election of Supreme Court judges.
The Public Defender called on national human rights institutions and human rights defenders of various countries to work actively on institutional issues relating to the judiciary - especially the election of judges. She emphasized the importance of a fair trial for protecting other fundamental rights. “There was not vast practice on how NHRIs were involved in the institutional reforms that address judiciary, but we have to take into consideration local context and challenges”, - the Public Defender said at the end of her speech.
It should be noted that at the 2019 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of OSCE Participating States, the Ambassador of the United States called on Georgia to hold transparent and fair procedures of nomination and election of Supreme Court judges.