Public Defender’s Statement on the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Georgia of 30 July 2020

On July 30, 2020, the Constitutional Court of Georgia rejected the constitutional claims of the Public Defender of Georgia, which concerned the rule on the selection of Supreme Court judicial candidates by the High Council of Justice for the submission to the Parliament of Georgia.

It is extremely alarming that the Constitutional Court did not consider our constitutional claim and did not repeal the norm that allows incompetent and dishonest judges to be nominated as judicial candidates of the Supreme Court to the Parliament of Georgia against the constitutional requirements.

The 30 July decision of the Constitutional Court harms the most important principles of transparency of justice and trust towards the judiciary, which are directly related to the protection of fundamental rights in Georgia.

The representatives of the Public Defender presented all arguments before the Constitutional Court relating to the unconstitutionality of the disputable normative acts. Our position was supported by the reports of the Venice Commission and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Unfortunately, the respondent has not presented any proper legal arguments that would persuade an objective observer in the constitutionality of the norm.

The decision was made by the plenum of the Constitutional Court with 8 judges. The votes were equally divided. It should be noted that judge Khvicha Kikalishvili’s vote was decisive, who was selected during the state of emergency, through a non-transparent procedure, by the judges appointed to the Supreme Court on the basis of this very disputable norm. This factor should be particularly emphasized when assessing the decision of the Constitutional Court, as it raises suspicions about the motive of the decision.

As it is known, the rule on selection of Supreme Court judicial candidates and the events developed in the High Council of Justice have been criticized by many international organizations and diplomatic missions of our partner countries.

The Public Defender, together with local and international partners, will continue to use all legal levers to protect and strengthen the right to a fair trial.

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