Parliament’s July 12 decision to approve six Supreme Court judicial nominations, despite an explicit agreement by Georgia’s political leaders in the April 19 Agreement to “refrain from making appointments to the Supreme Court under existing rules”, is extremely disappointing. Unfortunately, this nomination and appointment process, and the failure to undertake inclusive, comprehensive judicial reform, fell short of the commitment Georgia’s leaders, including the ruling party, made to implement the April 19 Agreement in good faith.
The parties agreed to conduct ambitious judicial reform through a broad, transparent process that includes legal experts, civil society, and opposition parties. Unilateral legislative changes, including those adopted against the advice of international partners while the April 19 Agreement was being negotiated, are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Agreement. In particular, the early April amendments to the Organic Law on Common Courts failed to fully address Venice Commission recommendations, including a key recommendation related to staggering judicial appointments.
The failure to pause the appointment process until after comprehensive judicial reform could take place has real consequences. Legal experts and civil society organizations have highlighted that Parliament’s flawed process did not advance the most qualified nominees, resulting in less-qualified judges receiving lifetime appointments on the court. As a July 9 report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) found, this nomination process, “took place in an environment where there is a lack of public trust in the independence of the judiciary,” and “applications, background checks, and interviews established by the High Council of Justice for these nominations fell short of international standards.” Given this context, it was imperative that Parliament pause the appointment process to allow for inclusive, comprehensive reform reflecting the input of legal experts, civil society, and opposition. Parliament had the authority to do so and a pause would not have unduly burdened the judiciary’s operation. The decision not to do so is therefore very concerning and constitutes a significant missed opportunity to strengthen confidence in Georgia’s judiciary and advance its democratic development.
The United States stands ready to continue our efforts to support Parliament and the people of Georgia in credible efforts to strengthen the judicial system and the rule of law in Georgia.
BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese economy grew 12.7 percent year on year in the first half of 2021, as the world's second largest economy continued to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and share its growth dividends with the world.
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 53.2 trillion yuan (about 8.23 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first six months. The robust growth is a reflection of the vitality and resilience of the Chinese economy once hit hard by the pandemic.
Evidence has shown the recovery is in full-swing. Industrial production, fixed-asset investment, retail sales and foreign trade posted steady growth.
As the spokeswoman of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said at the press conference on Thursday, China's economy continues to recover steadily, production and demand continue to rise, employment and prices are generally stable, new growth drivers develop rapidly, economic quality and efficiency improve steadily, market entities are expected to improve, main macro indicators are in an appropriate range, and economic development shows a steady trend.
China's solid performance is also good news to the world.
The World Bank affirmed China's contribution in its June report, which said that the recovery in East Asia and the Pacific will be the strongest in 2021, which is primarily due to the strength in China. It is estimated that China's contribution to global economic growth will exceed 25 percent in 2021.
China mission chief and assistant director in the International Monetary Fund's Asia and Pacific Department Helge Berger said China, as one of the world's largest economies, plays a large role in Asia's recovery and global recovery, not only because of its share in global growth, but also due to its growth spillovers.
China still faces multiple challenges in the rest of the year, as the NBS spokeswoman cautioned over uncertainties stemming from the global spread of the pandemic and the unbalanced domestic recovery.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank projected that China's growth will exceed 8 percent in 2021.
China's ability to contain the pandemic pretty quickly, its significant policy support, as well as the recent pickup in global trade will help support the country's strong recovery.