The Legal Issues Committee has set up a working group to assist to determine compliance of the candidates of the Supreme Court of Georgia, nominated for the Parliament on September 6, 2019, with the requirements of the Constitution of Georgia and other laws.
"The working group will work for 10 days and we will begin hearing each individual candidate on September 23, which is a very important process in the Legal Issues Committee", - the Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili commented after the vote.
Prior to discussing the case, Anri Okhanashvili made a statement regarding the process of electing the candidates for the Supreme Court of Georgia.
“Georgia has never witnessed such a transparent, intensive and fore-handed process of interviewing the candidates of the Supreme Court. This is an achievement of the law developed by the Ruling Team”, - the Chair of the Legal Issues Committee stated.
He also spoke about the importance of the law adopted by the Ruling Team.
“This is a public process provided by this law. This law provided for a lengthy interview process. We will state our assessment and attitude in the decisions taken by the Committee first and then at the plenary sitting of the Parliament of Georgia. Our main objective is to ensure maximum transparency of this process, maximize engagement so that citizens can live track the public and historical process", - Anri Okhanashvili commented.
According to him, the Legal Issues Committee will ensure that the process is conducted in the most transparent and reasonable timeframe.
“As the Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, I will ensure that the process is as transparent as possible, within the reasonable timeframe, so that the final result is the selection of competent, conscientious candidates. This is an important process and we will make it as transparent as possible”, - Anri Okhanashvili added.
The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee made clarifications with respect to the composition of the working group. Pursuant to him, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure, the working group will include both MPs and specialists in the field.
“We have counseled with the parliamentary opposition, discussed and considered how the parliamentary composition of the working group should be represented. To meet the most target criteria, we have offered every faction to provide one representation in this working group”, - Anri Okhanashvili stated.
According to him, "Georgian Dream" will be represented by 7 members, as it has seven factions, "European Georgia" by three members, "National Movement" and "Alliance of Patriots" will be represented by one member per group.
As the Chair included, communication with several independent lawmakers had been made and their candidacy would be submitted to the group shortly. According to Anri Okhanashvili, for the greater transparency of the process, corresponding heads of the Bar Association as well as the Legal Aid Service will be representing these institutions. The group will also include academic representatives: Dean of the Law Faculty of Tbilisi State University, Professor Tamar Zarandia and the Member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Academician Joni Khetsuriani.
"We believe their involvement will be very important to this process and we will be able to conduct it as straightforwardly as would be prudent and bring it to the end so that dignified, competent and conscientious candidates are selected", - the Chairman of the Legal Issues Committee noted.
According to Anri Okhanashvili, the NGO sector processes information about each candidate. He also explained that he had direct communication with the Public Defender and offered him involvement in the process, though, as he said, for some objective reasons, the Public Defender would not participate in the process.
According to the Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, every member of the committee will be provided with all materials received from the High Council of Justice today. Parliament will also provide for the publication of these materials on the Parliament website.
As Otar Kakhidze, Chairman of the Faction European Georgia stated, if the NGO sector is involved in the working group and the format of the working group is not of formal compliance, rather with the legislation and the constitution, which also implies a criterion of integrity and competence, European Georgia will participate in the working group, but if the functions of this group are only to establish formal compliance with the legislation of the document, then neither he nor his colleagues will participate in the work of the group.
In this regard, the Chairman of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili stated that the configuration of the working group cannot make a substantive appraisal dependent based on current administrative record and the logical conclusion given by the Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
According to him, representatives of the Public Defender and the NGOs will be invited to discuss the issue with the committee.