Rights Group Calls on President to Name Supreme Court Chair Candidate

The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, which unites around 40 Georgian civil society organizations and rights watchdogs, called on President Giorgi Margvelashvili to nominate a Supreme Court chairmanship candidate.

In a statement released on August 31, the Coalition said that “it is strongly against the President’s decision not to fulfill his constitutional duty and instead, shift responsibility to various groups.”

“Giving due consideration to the grave situation in the judiciary,” the Coalition calls on the President “to fulfill his constitutional powers duly and effectively and to nominate a candidate that enjoys broad public support.”

Consultations on selecting the candidacy of the Supreme Court chair were launched on August 6, four days after previous Chair, Nino Gvenetadze’s resignation for health reasons. The presidential administration held several consultations, including with representatives of rights watchdogs, legal circles and political groups, but no specific candidacies had been named.

On August 21, Georgian civil society organizations turned down Margvelashvili’s offer to present candidate for new Supreme Court chair. Earlier, on August 15, the ruling party also refused to join consultations on selecting the candidate. All these prompted President Margvelashvili to announce that he would not nominate the new Supreme Court chair.

Under the current Constitution of Georgia, the President has to nominate the new chairmanship candidate to the Parliament; which will then have to vote on the nomination. Support of at least 76 MPs is need for approval.

By the new Constitution, which is to come to force upon new president’s inauguration later this year, the right to nominate new candidate passes to the High Council of Justice, the body overseeing the judiciary.

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