Anri Okhanashvili on the Judicial Reform Strategy and Action Plan
The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili held a briefing to overview the judicial reform strategy and action plan, reporting on the set-up of the working group.
“One of the objectives of the Group was to develop the strategy and action plan; the hereof document has been promulgated within an established term - on October 1. The Group heard each member and developed the document with the wide engagement of the professional circles, as well as the Public Defender Office. We have heard additional proposals from NGOs”, - he stated.
The document is based on the 200-page document developed by the “Georgian Dream” – “Institutional Development of Georgian Jurisdiction in 2013-2021”.
“This document is the basis of our strategy and hence, we have identified the gaps in the development of the Georgian jurisdiction and revealed the challenges. Since 2021, the judicial system development and increase of its quality are impartially confirmed and recognized by the international partners and organizations”.
It is paramount to keep further development of the jurisdiction since the challenges linger the solution of which will significantly promote the quality of our jurisdiction on our EU integration path. “We shall identify the challenges, such are optimal number of the judges and judicial officials for the exercise of the tasks and duties within the reasonable term and for maintenance of high quality of activity; unloading of the courts, which requires the facilitation of the alternative dispute resolution means through arbitration or mediation; improvement of quality of substantiation of the court orders and facilitation of professional development of the judges; improvement of establishment of the approaches of the European Court of Human Rights; one of the challenges also concern the social protection of the judges, as well as the transparency of the jurisdiction; yet another challenge provided in the document is related to the public awareness and communication for the trust-building and prevention of disinformation discrediting the court, as well as the capacity building of the jury, extension of e-proceedings, improvement of material-technical infrastructure and establishment of new services; also the adaptation for persons with disabilities and protection of the best interests of children. These are some of our acute challenges”, - he stated.
The challenges also include: improvement of translation quality to ensure fair justice; enhancement of High School of Justice to ensure recruitment of students of justice sphere, which is necessary for uninterrupted life-tenure appointment of judges as of January 1, 2025; it is expedient to, providing the Constitutional norms, include in the Rules of Procedure the regulations on mandatory public hearing of the candidates for election as non-judicial members in the High Council of Justice; improvement of election of the judicial members to the High Council of Justice, namely, it is expedient to allow the candidates to introduce their visions to the conference of judges; the Constitutional Court, based on its Order of 2019, considered the normative context of certain legal norms as unconstitutional, which exclude the issue of full texts of the court acts adopted at the open court sitting as public information, and hence, it is expedient to introduce respective legal changes ensuring compliance between the Constitution and the hereof approaches”.
According to him, it is as well noteworthy that any legal change further introduced shall not impede the jurisdiction and realization of fair justice rights but improvement of the judicial system for uninterrupted protection of the interests of the Georgian citizens without prejudice to the Court.
“Thus, respective proposals but various political parties, such are the increase of the quorum for the decision-making in the High Council of Justice (so-called double 2/3) and change of the rule of the election of the Court Chairs – through the so-called electoral campaign – do not comply with the Constitution, are not based on the international best practice and may entail the interruption of the jurisdiction and trigger improper political processes in the Court. We keep the development of the legal changes based on our action plan and will submit them as of November 1, the changes, within the plan, will as well be submitted to Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR”, - he stated.