On December 15, 2017, the Parliament of Georgia adopted new constitutional amendments with the second hearing. The amendments were initially aimed at incorporating critical remarks issued by the Venice Commission on a number of specific provisions. However, changes were made to additional provisions as well, including those on access to public information.
Signatories to this statement are reacting to the process of constitutional amendments whose declared purpose should be reflection of the recommendations of the Venice Commission regarding constitutional changes of 2017. However, draft constitutional amendments submitted to the parliament reveal that this process goes beyond the initially determined aim and includes such changes which do not serve the purpose of reflecting recommendations of the Venice Commission. Moreover, the content of the newly initiated amendments is problematic and unprepared.
It has come to our knowledge that the Parliament of Georgia may follow the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Justice to amend the text of the new Constitution and lower the constitutional standard of access to public information.
Media Advocacy Coalition - Coalition Appeals to Members of the Parliament
Coalition for Media Advocacy Responds to Ukraine's Decision to Deny Entry to Georgian Journalists
On October 24, the Georgian Dream unveiled its plan to nominate Nino Lomjaria as new Public Defender. We welcome that in new Ombudsman’s selection the ruling party supported one of the four candidates offered by civil society organizations. Taking civil society’s opinion into consideration during deliberations about Public Defender candidates is very important because the Public Defender should enjoy high level of trust of human rights organizations and activist movements.
Civil society once again responds to the latest developments taking place at Public Service Broadcaster. Increasing influence of individuals connected to the government and the former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at Public Broadcaster is alarming and contradicts the mission of a public broadcaster in a democratic society.
For the first time the renewed composition of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) is appointing judges for life. As of now, the Council has completed interviews of thirty-eight judges who applied for life tenure. Due to the recent legislative amendments it is expected that more than one hundred judges who are currently on probation may apply for life tenure.
On 1 September, the Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio stated that the postponement of the introduction of the proportional system in the Georgian Parliamentary elections to 2024 is disappointing.
As public prosecutors in many regions of the world use their powers to suppress critical voices, over 130 human rights/civil society organizations including IDFI and anti-corruption groups call on the International Association of Prosecutors to preserve the integrity of the profession.