High Council of Justice Take into Account Public Defender’s Recommendation

The High Council of Justice made a decision at today’s session to take into account the Public Defender’s recommendation of June 27. Accordingly, copies of applications and documents submitted by 137 candidates participating in the selection process of Supreme Court judges will be available for monitoring organizations and other stakeholders.

The Public Defender’s recommendation concerned the refusal of the High Council of Justice to issue information requested by Transparency International - Georgia on May 31. The organization requested copies of all applications and documents submitted by applicants to the Council for 20 judicial vacancies. According to the Public Defender, the High Council of Justice should have issued the requested information. The recommendation was based on the amendments made to the Organic Law on Common Courts on May 1, the views expressed by the Venice Commission during the adoption of the amendments and the discussions held around the draft law, as well as the explanations in the recent decisions of the Constitutional Court and other sources.

The High Council of Justice was initially going to discuss the Public Defender's recommendation on July 8, but later put it off for July 9. The Council did not invite the Public Defender or her representative. According to Article 13 of the Rules of Procedure of the High Council of Justice, only invited persons have the right to express their opinion. Consequently, the Council made a decision to involve the Public Defender and the State Inspector in the discussion. At today's session, the Public Defender's representative introduced information on the basic aspects and legal arguments of the Public Defender's recommendation.

Finally, out of 144 persons participating in the selection process, documents submitted by 137 persons registered as candidates by the Council will become publicly available. According to the Public Defender, documents of all 144 persons should have become public.

Access to the above-mentioned information for observer organizations and other stakeholders will contribute to the implementation of public control over the selection of Supreme Court judges. The Public Defender continues to monitor the process of selection of Supreme Court judges and will periodically inform the public of the monitoring results.

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