President Saakashvili acknowledged on November 24 that institutions in Georgia were not yet immune from interference from individual officials.
Speaking at an oath taking ceremony of new judges of the Supreme Court, Saakashvili mainly focused on the court system, but he also spoke generally on state institutions saying that they were still remaining vulnerable.
“This is my second and last presidential term; of course I am not going to die after [the presidency], but I am thinking what I and my friends should bequeath for the country. Apart of the major task, which is Georgia’s unification, another task of the same importance is building of institutions,” Saakashvili said.
“If we ask today a question: is the system today arranged in a way that would rule out misuse of the current system and other institutions in case other people come [into power] or in case of interference by some of our team members [referring to the current authorities]? Unfortunately, I can not yet give a negative answer to this question.”
“All the institutions in Georgia are too vulnerable to subjective factors,” he added. “Of course this personal factor will never be fully ruled out, but the institutions should secure conditions which would rule out sense of insecurity towards individual persons’ willfulness; and that is something, which is not yet fully established in Georgia.”
He also said that the public confidence towards the court system was increasing every year, but it still remained lower than the one of the police. Saakashvili said that some of the authorities’ recent initiatives would help to fill that gap, including the one involving appointment of judges for life; allowing opposition representation in the Supreme Council of Justice - the body overseeing the judicial system and the introduction of a jury system. The latter is expected to come into force starting from 2009. At the first stage, juries will only be used in trials dealing with homicide in the Tbilisi’s courts.