TI Georgia on Georgian Judiciary in 2016-20

On October 23, Transparency International Georgia, a local watchdog, published a report on the state of Georgian judiciary from 2016 Parliamentary elections until the present, stating that the government did not “demonstrate the political will to completely and fundamentally reform the judicial system.”

The watchdog highlights that reforms in the judiciary since 2016 were “inconsistent and fragmented,” with deficiencies incompatible with principles of an independent and democratic judicial system still remaining the legal framework.

“Observing the judiciary throughout the years shows that the government, as time passed, discarded the idea of creating an independent judiciary,” the watchdog states, adding that the judicial system is now fully controlled by a group of justices referred to as “the clan.”

Regarding the selection process of Supreme Court judges, the report says that the Court of the highest instance was “filled up with the candidates lobbied by the government, instead of the ones with the highest qualifications”.

The watchdog takes note of negative developments regarding the Constitutional Court as well, stating that the “clan” has also exerted its influence on the Court, damaging its authority and reducing public confidence in its rulings, while the constitutional reform in 2017 had previously reduced its competencies.

Referring to the positive developments in the judiciary, the watchdog underscores that the two waves of reforms during 2016-2020 introduced digital allocation of court cases and refined the norms that regulate judges’ disciplinary accountability and legal proceedings.

The report also notes that important steps were made toward increasing the transparency of the High Council of Justice’s activities, which is now required to disclose reports of its proceedings, as well as some statistics and argumentations for its decisions.

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