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NGOs Address to the Parliament about the Election Process of New Members of the HCOJ

06.06.2017

 
On June 6, 2017 the Legal Issues Committee is reviewing one of the most important issues for the independence of the Georgian judiciary – election of 4 new members in the High Council of Justice. We call on the Parliament of Georgia and the responsible committee to ensure transparent election of the HCOJ members in due respect of their professionalism.  

It is noteworthy that the legislation regulating the election of the HCOJ members by the Parliament of Georgia does not ensure the transparent process, which will be based on the evaluation of the professionalism of the candidates. Georgian Young Lawyers Association submitted the legislative proposal to the Parliament of Georgia, which aimed to introduce amendments in the regulations of the Parliament. With the purpose of ensuring the transparent election process in due respect of candidates’ professionalism, the legislative proposal, together with other issues, stipulated the following: 
  • the candidates of the HCOJ membership shall present their vision;
  • the leading committee shall establish the rule of consulting with the HCOJ members. 
  • interested persons shall have right to attend the committee session and ask questions;
  • the bios and vision statements of the candidates shall be published on the website of the Parliament of Georgia;
  • . Interested persons shall have right to get information about the candidates;
  • the committee shall have obligation to prepare well-grounded conclusion about the decision with regard to the candidates.

The legislative proposal of GYLA was discussed at the sessions of the Committee of Procedural Issues of the Parliament. Although the MPs agreed that it was necessary to improve the election procedures of the HCOJ members and liked the proposal, they did not support the bill because they already had information that the Committee of Legal Issues did not have initiative about the same issue and the members of the committee for procedural issues decided to wait for their colleagues from the legal committee.

In the end of May, 2017, the Chairman of the Parliament issued the act to announce the competition for the selection of the four members of the HCoJ. As it was estimated, the regulations of the Parliament of Georgia were not amended to improve the selection procedure of the HCoJ members and the Parliament continued the selection process in accordance to the faulty regulations (current edition does not envisage hearing of the candidates even in the committees). 

Although it was impossible to amend the regulations of the parliament, we call on the Parliament of Georgia to ensure transparent selection process of the HCoJ members, in due respect of the competences and honesty of the candidates. At the same time, it is important that the Parliament respected the gender equality when selecting the Council members. Authoritative international organizations also recommended to select the Council members based on their professionalism and competence. At the same time, recent active criticism of the HCoJ activities once again underlines the responsibility of the Parliament of Georgia to select honorable candidates in Council. 
 
Georgian Young Lawyers' Association 
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center
Partnership for Human Rights 
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information 
Transparency International - Georgia
Human Rights Center
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