Georgian Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, whose five-year term in office expires on December 7, said broader public participation is “important” in the new Public Defender’s selection process in order to ensure that “the government takes into account the interests of certain groups of the society.”
“I would like to see a candidate on this position, who has a long experience in the human rights field, who is principled, independent professional with high moral values,” Nanuashvili said at a news briefing on November 15.
According to media reports, local civil society organizations are considering three nominees for the post: Ana Natsvlishvili, head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association; Vakhushti Menabde, associate professor at Ilia State University; and Zviad Koridze, chairman of the Presidential Pardon Commission.
Media outlets have also reported that the ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party is also considering three nominees for the position - Personal Data Protection Inspector Tamar Kaldani, Prime Minister’s Human Rights assistant Sopo Japaridze and former Deputy Public Defender Sopo Khorguani.
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze spoke on the selection process on November 14, saying that the ruling party would hold “very active discussions” on the matter. “Later, the format of consultations will be expanded,” he added.
Representatives of the parliamentary opposition commented on the Public Defender’s selection process as well.
MP Tinatin Bokuchava of the United National Movement said the party would discuss the issue with CSOs, but added that government would still name a candidate loyal to the ruling party, while MP Giorgi Tugushi of the European Georgia noted that the party would support the CSO candidate and would be willing to offer its parliamentary mandate for nomination.
MP Irma Inashvili of the Alliance of Patriots said the party was also considering several candidates, but added that if the government named “a good candidate,” the party would support the nominee.
The Public Defender, who monitors the protection of human rights and freedoms on the territory of Georgia, is elected by a majority vote for a term of five years. Only a parliamentary faction, as well as a group of at least six lawmakers, who do not belong to any faction, is eligible to nominate a candidate for the Public Defender.
Local civil society organizations released a joint statement several weeks ago and demanded participation in the new Public Defender’s selection process.