Justice Minister, Tea Tsulukiani, said Conference of Judges made “strange” choices when electing seven members of High Council of Justice from within its ranks on June 9.
“Although decisions taken by judges were strange, they took the decisions which they deem to be good. Now these decisions have to be tested in practice in order to see how the people elected by judges can act independently and freely [as HCoJ members],” said Tsulukiani, who is now visiting Lithuania; she also said that elections were held freely.
“Of course it is strange and I cannot but note that the most odious figure, who is considered to be such in the society or at least as it is seen from outside, was elected without any problems in the first round,” Tsulukiani said.
Tsulukiani was obviously referring to First Deputy Chairman of Supreme Court, Zaza Meishvili, who was the only candidate for HCoJ membership who won the seat in the first round of voting.
“We will require a serious work with these members in order to carry out the planned reforms in a right way,” the Justice Minister said.
Supreme Court Chairman, Kote Kublashvili, condemned Justice Minister’s remarks as “completely inadmissible.”
“I have not personally listened to these remarks by the Justice Minister, but if that’s really what she said, it is an insult of Zaza Meishvili – that’s completely inadmissible and unacceptable. I think that she will understand that it is inadmissible to insult the judge, who has been distinguished with his honesty and high level of professionalism throughout his judicial career,” Kublashvili told journalists on June 10.
Composition of new 15-member HCoJ is expected to be completed this week after the Parliament elects six non-judge members of the Council from candidates nominated by legal advocacy NGOs, Georgian Bar Association and law schools and faculties of the high education institutions.
“Based on results that were produced by judges yesterday, now the Parliament has a special responsibility in electing independent, competent and impartial six members [of HCoJ],” Justice Minister Tsulukiani said.
“If the remaining six members of [HCoJ] are not acceptable for the society, it can be considered, that the judiciary’s reform in Georgia will face problems not only in a short-term, but in a long-term period as well,” she added.