Georgian Dream ‘Astonished’ by Negative Int’l Reactions to Top Court Appointments

Georgian Dream party chair Irakli Kobakhidze and senior lawmakers, Archil Talakvadze and Shalva Papuashvili, stated the ruling party is “astonished and concerned” by negative international reactions to the appointment of six Supreme Court judges.

The statement comes after U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken said earlier today the appointments were “in contravention” of the April 19 EU-brokered deal, coming before judiciary reform envisaged by the agreement.

The three legislators said “the agencies of the country’s key strategic partner [the U.S.] are receiving distorted information about the implementation of the political agreement due to dishonest actions of individual officials.” MP Papuashvili clarified later that they did not refer to “a Georgian official.” “We refrained from specifying because this issue [of this official] is connected to our partners, to their hierarchy and we don’t want to cause any reputational damage,” he said.

Explaining the ruling party’s decision to move on with the appointment of the top court judges despite international calls to pause the process, the three lawmakers argued in the statement they had already endorsed judiciary reforms required by the April 19 deal by the time of its signing.

MPs Kobakhidze, Talakvadze and Papuashvili said the Common Courts legislation passed earlier in April “fully reflected key Venice Commission recommendations,” and was penned in accordance with an earlier compromise proposal published by EU mediator Christian Danielsson on March 31.

The GD MPs noted the provision on judicial reform was in the final deal kept unchanged from the said proposal.

“International partners asked us to sign the April 19 agreement without additional changes [to the text] not to cause further political complications,” the GD lawmakers said, clarifying the decision to sign the provisions they say they had already fulfilled.

Referring to the Common Courts legislation amendments adopted in April while the EU-brokered deal “was being negotiated,” the U.S. Embassy said on July 15 that unilateral legislative changes are “inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Agreement.”

This article was updated with MP Papuashvili’s subsequent comments.

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