Institute for Development of Freedom of Information filed an amicus curiae brief regarding the constitutional appeal of the Public Defender. The constitutional appeal N1459 of November 11, 2019 of the Public Defender challenges the provisionson the Organic Law of Georgia on Common Courts regardingthe selection of the candidacy of a Supreme Court Justice for the nomination to the Parliament by the High Council of Justice. The Public Defender considers that the existing rule contradicts the right to hold public office and the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Constitution.
On December 17, 2019, the Constitutional Court admitted the constitutional appeal of the Public Defender for consideration on the merits.
IDFI considers that impugned norms contradict the requirements of the Constitution due to the following reasons:
- The procedure envisaged by the Organic Law of Georgia on Common Courts fails to ensure the practical and effective exercise of the right to hold public office guaranteed by the Constitution.
- The uninformed decision of the High Council of Justice during the first stage of secret ballot poses a risk that candidates with higher qualifications and integrity will be excluded from the selection process arbitrarily and without substantiation.
- Three-stage secret ballot used in the selection process of the Supreme Court judges excludes the possibility of taking reasoned decision and creates the risk of arbitrary decision-making, which contradicts the requirements of the Constitution as well as international standards in this regard.
- The lack of relevant guarantees for appointment of the competent and honest Supreme Court Justices creates the risk of violation of the right to a fair trial, in particular, the right of a person to be heard by an independent and impartial tribunal established in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.
IDFI considers that the right to a fair trial envisaged by Article 31 of the Constitution implies not only formalaccess to the courts but also existence of real and efficient guarantees for protection of this right, the main prerequisite of which is the appointment of qualified, honest and impartial judges.
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