PM Ivanishvili said on Monday that President Saakashvili was trying “to block” enacting bill on reforming High Council of Justice (HCoJ), which was passed by the Parliament earlier this month.
The bill has been sent to the President for signature, but it may be vetoed as President Saakashvili’s UNM party was strongly against of the bill, particularly of the provision under which authority of 13 out of 15 sitting members of HCoJ, whose current membership does not comply with new criteria, will be terminated; seven out of eight judge members of the HCoJ, however, will still be able to run for the seat and regain their membership if elected by the self-governing body of the judicially, Conference of Judges.
April 25 is a deadline when the President should either sign the bill into law or send it back to the Parliament with his objections, according to GD lawmaker Vakhtang Khmaladze, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs. GD has enough votes in the Parliament to override presidential veto.
“We are doing everything possible to have independent judiciary,” PM Ivanishvili told Georgian journalists in Strasbourg on April 22.
He said that the bill on reforming HCoJ was reflecting recommendations of Council of Europe's advisory body on legal affairs Venice Commission “actually by hundred percent” and added that the bill was also endorsed by Chairman of Supreme Court Kote Kublashvili; the latter has not commented publicly on the bill since it was confirmed by the Parliament.
“The only person who does not like it is Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now trying to somehow block [the bill] and to stop this process of freeing the judiciary,” PM Ivanishvili said.
On April 23 PM will address the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) and then answer questions of its members. He told journalists on Monday that he would stress on Georgia’s European aspirations in his speech before PACE.
Accompanied by Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, the PM met on April 22 in Strasbourg with PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon; President of the European Court of Human Rights Dean Spielmann; Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks.