The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, which unites around 40 Georgian civil society organizations and rights watchdogs, has launched a new campaign to press for “real reforms” in the judiciary. The campaign, titled “Make Courts Trustworthy,” will be led by the Transparency International Georgia.
In their statement released on March 1, the Coalition members said there was “insufficient political will” for reforms in the ruling party, adding that previous reform efforts “have failed to achieve their objective,” due to “incomplete, overdue, and influential interest group-tailored legislative amendments.”
The organizations listed “clan-based governance” as a challenge as well, stressing that the selection and appointment of judges “leaves us with a feeling that judicial appointments are based on candidate’s loyalty to the influential group, and are allegedly based on nepotism.”
“There are valid concerns that the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) is using its authority and legislative loopholes to eliminate dissent in the system, and to strengthen its positions,” the statement reads.
Recalling the recent lifetime appointment of 44 judges, the organizations also pointed out that the HCoJ “is continuing with the established faulty practices of judicial appointment.” “Among them were judges towards whom the public has a very negative attitude due to their past high-profile decisions,” the CSOs noted.
The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary was established in 2011 to advocate for judicial reforms. Activities of the Coalition include research and monitoring, development of recommendations and advocacy for judicial reforms, and promotion of public discussions on problems in the judiciary.