Assessment Document developed by Ana Natsvlishvili on the basis of the Analysis of Modifications in the Judicial System
The Political Group “Lelo – Partnership for Georgia” MP, Ana Natsvlishvili developed the Conclusion - Assessment Document on the basis of the Analysis of Modifications in the Judicial System. The document is based on years of experience of the author in the judicial reforms, analysis of the laws and drafts, surveys by the local and international organizations and the international conventions/declarations on judicial independence.
“The Conclusion reveals that the Constitutional commitment on judicial independence and the political promise of the reforms have not been implemented. The “Georgian Dream” has amended and modified the laws but left two key pillars of the judicial system unchanged, which were the subject of their criticism while in the opposition by the way – these are the discredited judicial corps, and the unhealthy judicial management system. The failure to modify these two components undermined the implemented legal changes. Today, it is crystal clear that the failed changes result not from the failure to achieve the properly outlined goals but from the absence of a political will to liberate the court. The Government likes to repeat that the criticism of the courts is based on the perceptions of a small group of people instead of the facts of acute problems in the courts. The truth is that various facts and documented tendencies indicate to the real problems in the judicial system (which are comprehensively discussed in the study); there are none of the local or international assessments recently made believing in the independence of the courts in Georgia and the progress achieved by the changes, while there are lots of studies on the contrary, that based on the facts reveal that the judicial system is not independent and encounters acute problems. One of the most legitimate and universally recognized criteria for the assessment of judicial independence is the perception of the society since according to the established standards, the jurisdiction shall not only be exercised but perceived as exercised”, - she stated.
According to her, the study reveals that the problems in the judicial system cannot be solved by the elimination of the standalone problems solely or by the annulment, adoption or modification of some regulations but the solution requires the clear political will of the real reforming and the complex and system approach. The document provides the steps to be urgently taken by the authorities for the fulfillment of the 12-point agenda concerning the courts, which is one of the key preconditions for the reception of the EU candidate status.
- “The reform, in view of the fulfillment of the 12-point plan shall be based on the impartial, complete and inclusive assessment of the problems in the court. The assessment shall include the analysis of the legal frame, as well as the quality of their implementation and the outcomes. Such assessment is crucial since no wide-scale reform can be implemented without it but it will be dictated by purely party interests and will fail to lead to the outlined goals;
- It is urgent to compose the High Council of Justice with 5 non-judicial members; all members shall be selected according to their competence, integrity and reliability by the wider society instead of their loyalty to the party;
- Non-judicial members shall enjoy real leverage instead of the formal power in the Council (to introduce the decision-making regulation according to the double 2/3);
- The decisions made by the Council when incomplete, including the appointment to the Supreme Court, shall be revised;
- The changes to the Organic Law on Common Courts introduced in December 2021, which appeared to be extremely prejudicial shall be annulled and the status quo shall be restored.
The Conclusion by Ana Natsvlishvili also provides that within the real judicial reform, the essential changes shall be made in the rule of the election of the HCJ members and their activity, School of Justice, disciplinary system, election of the Chairs and case re-distribution based on the law.
The above-mentioned changes are in detail provided in the legal package developed by the PG “Lelo” and the PG “Reforms”. The Political Groups “Reforms” and “Strategy Agmashenebeli” share the findings in the document.