Today at the meeting of the High Council of Justice, it was once again demonstrated that a certain group with narrow interests holds an uncontrolled power in the judiciary. Today, with procedural violations, in the pre-New Year period and with expedited procedures, the Council made a decision to nominate 10 candidates for the Supreme Court.
The new version of the Constitution went into effect at the moment the newly elected President was sworn in. According to it, Supreme Court justices are no longer nominated by the President but rather by the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), and they are appointed for life by the Parliament.
The Parliament of Georgia adopted the Organic Law on Prosecution with the third reading on November 30. The reform was based on the Constitutional reform of 2017-2018, which put the organizational setup and functions of the prosecution system in a new framework. The objective of the Constitutional reform of the prosecution system was ensuring its independence and political neutrality.
NGOs express their utmost concern regarding the contents of the statement made by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia. The statement contains an indirect message about imposing criminal responsibility on our colleagues and comes across as a warning to us, i.e., various organisations working in the field of human rights as well as every individual cooperating with us under the condition of confidentiality and providing us with significant information on human rights violations.
Leading members of the Government of Georgia and the ruling party continue their purposeful attacks on non-governmental organizations and their heads. Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani carried out yet another attack of this kind at the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen on 22 October.
We would like to comment on the statement made today by the executive secretary of Georgian Dream and the chairman of Parliament of Georgia, which continues an aggressive rhetoric against the non-governmental sector.
We would like to respond to the recent developments that have taken place in the country, which are indicative of a severe crisis in the governance system, clear signs of grand corruption and informal clan rule in Georgia. We believe that the control exercised by an influential group over public institutions and its use of those institutions for the promotion of narrow group interests is a precursor towards the breakdown of the public institutions.
We would like to respond to the incident of gross interference with the right to peaceful assembly by the police, which took place at a protest rally organized by Zaza Saralidze and Malkhaz Machalikashvili in front of the Parliament in Tbilisi on September 26, 2018.
The public has recently become aware of a number of alleged instances of corruption involving public officials. The notable examples are the public materials related to the activities of the Omega Group and TV Iberia, which are indicative of severe corruption, in which public officials may have been involved.
The Coalition is concerned that the process of selecting the new Chief Justice is suspended until this day. We again remind the authorized persons that based on the Constitutional amendments that are set to take effect upon the swearing-in of the next President of Georgia, the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) is given the authority to nominate the candidate for the Chief Justice position.