The Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili responded to the Venice Commission Opinion on Legal Change of December 20, 2021, and made elucidations.
“Venice Commission marks that the annulment of the prohibition on the appointment/election of a person as the member of the High Council of Justice two times in a row pursuant to the preceding recommendations and the recommendations of the Consultative Council of European Judges is justified. Venice Commission hails the speciation of the basis for recognizing the essential violation of the procedural terms, for instance, case consideration terms by the judge as excusable. Venice Commission also approves the categorization of the disciplinary penalty to the judge into the basic and auxiliary penalties. According to Venice Commission, this change adheres to and meets the proportionality standard. At that, Venice Commission considers a number of issues, for instance, the change of the rule of the business trip of the judge. The Commission expressed its opinion that the legal specification of this rule can be realized, though the dispatch of a judge without his/her consent to another court was not in general negatively estimated by the Commission. As to the recognition of the public expression of a judge with the violation of the political neutrality principle as a disciplinary offense, Venice Commission noted that the imposition of a disciplinary penalty on a judge for the violation of the general duty of the political neutrality does not entail the dispute”, - he stated.
According to him, the Opinion provides a strange recommendation as well: “one strange recommendation is noteworthy – Venice Commission issued the recommendation on October 14, 2014, to the High Council of Justice to make the decisions on disciplinary issues with a simple majority. We have diligently fulfilled this recommendation as a result of the changes of December 20, 2021, though Venice Commission now expresses quite a different position concerning its own recommendation. We are committed to keeping discussing the submitted recommendations with Venice Commission”, - he added.