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Saakashvili Vetoes Judicial Council Bill
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Apr.'13 / 22:11

President Saakashvili has legislative amendments to the law on common courts envisaging reforming of High Council of Justice, which was passed by the Parliament earlier this month, president’s new chief of administration, Andro Barnovi, said on Tuesday evening.

He said that the bill would be sent back to the Parliament with President’s objections.

According to procedures, the Parliament will have to either accept President’s objections or try to override the veto within next 15 days.

The Parliament in which PM Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition holds the majority has once already overridden presidential veto, when Saakashvili returned back to the Parliament bill on amnesty.

Chief of president’s administration, Andro Barnovi, said that the reason behind President’s decision to veto judicial council bill was that the Parliament “completely ignored” recommendations of the Venice Commission.

He said that prematurely terminating authority of sitting members of the High Council of Justice was unacceptable.

President’s veto did not come as a surprise as lawmakers from his UNM party were strongly against of the bill, particularly of the provision according to 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.

Before the news about presidential veto was reported, PM Ivanishvili, who is now visiting Strasbourg, met Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio on April 23.

Commenting on the judicial council bill Buquicchio said after the meeting, that it was “a good initiative.”

“The Venice Commission welcomed this initiative in order to improve independence of the judiciary, the efficiency of the judiciary; so it seems that everything is going in the good direction,” the President of Venice Commission said.

Also on April 23 President Saakashvili vetoed another bill, which envisages depriving a defendant upper hand in choosing whether to have a trial by jury or a judge.

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