Public Defender Addresses Constitutional Court with Two Lawsuits
On December 6, 2017, Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili addressed the Constitutional Court of Georgia with two constitutional lawsuits.
The institution of administrative imprisonment envisaged in the Code of Administrative Offenses of Georgia is disputed in the first constitutional lawsuit
The Public Defender considers that administrative imprisonment equals criminal penalty with its strictness and is clearly incompatible with administrative offenses. Therefore, the use of such a serious penalty of obvious criminal nature for minor offenses violates Article 17 of the Constitution of Georgia, which prohibits the use of degrading punishment.
The second constitutional lawsuit was filed by the Public Defender of Georgia and the NGOs of the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary. In the present case, Article 2 of the Law of Georgia on Disciplinary Responsibility and Disciplinary Proceedings against Judges of Common Courts adopted on February 8, 2017 is a disputed norm. The norm stipulates that the disciplinary proceedings launched against judges before the so-called third wave justice reform, as well as case proceedings concerning disciplinary offenses committed before its enactment, will be conducted according to the rule existed before the amendments.
According to the authors of the constitutional lawsuit, despite the gaps in the current legislation on disciplinary proceedings against judges of common courts, certain positive changes carried out within the "third wave" justice reform should be emphasized. However, in this context, the norm envisaged in the "third wave" legislative package, according to which, the disciplinary proceedings initiated before the implementation of the amendments, as well as the proceedings concerning disciplinary offenses committed before its enactment, shall be carried out according to the rule existed before the amendments, is problematic. Such a blanket form restricts certain individuals involved in the disciplinary proceedings to enjoy all the improved rules (determination of the term of consideration, transparency of the process, etc.) envisaged in the so-called third wave. The legitimate interest of putting persons in differentiated conditions in relation to all the improved rules envisaged by the legislative amendments is unclear.
The authors of the constitutional lawsuit also request the Constitutional Court to suspend the disputed norm until a final decision is made on the case, as the norm may cause irreparable damage to the persons concerned and involved in the disciplinary proceedings.
Considering the practice of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the Public Defender and the Coalition consider that such differentiation contradicts the right of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution of Georgia.