WORKING GROUP ON JUDICIAL REFORM RECONCILING TWO ISSUES
The Working Group at the Legal Issues Committee working on the judicial reform held a sitting with the agenda containing four issues.
According to the Chair of the Committee and the Head of the Group, Anri Okhanashvili, the Group has reconciled the positions on two issues.
“The first issue we discussed was the improvement of transparency of the election on the non-judicial members to the High Council of Justice. As we agreed, it is expedient for the election of the non-judicial members by the Parliament to make a certain record in the Rules of Procedure to ensure higher transparency and inclusiveness of the process. We agreed on yet another issue, envisaging the Conference of the Judges to, upon the election of the judicial members to the High Council of Justice, enjoy the opportunity to hear the positions of the candidates”, - he noted, adding that two out of four issues of the agenda were left unreconciled and postponed for further consideration.
“These two issues concern the election of the judicial or non-judicial members to the High Council of Justice twice in a row. The regulation, restricting the Council member to apply for the competition for the second term, has been modified since we considered it expedient to annul the restrictions for the persons with respective professional experience and skills. We failed to reconcile our positions on these two issues. Our position is that Venice Commission never mentioned that this rule shall be revised into the previous version, prohibiting the election with the second term in a row; while the civil society believes this to be true, though providing the context, it is expedient to revise this issue. We also failed to reconcile on the issue that the members of the High Council of Justice are allowed to at the same time be the Chairs of the Court, Chamber or Panel. Our position is that the international standard exists that the person going through the mobility within the Court shall carry no obligation to resign from a certain position; on the contrary, it shall be a flexible mechanism to alleviate the restrictions for the judges. In this case as well, the civil society believes that despite the international standards not binding for anyone to resign from the position of the Chair of the Court or Panel for instance in case of his/her election to the High Council of Justice, though they keep mentioning the context to be taken into account. We act according to and are guided under international standards. The Georgian jurisdiction and legislation cannot be used as a subject of the experiment, which is based on no experience”, - A. Okhanashvili stated.