Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) claims that a clan of judges, ‘which is hampering unbiased judiciary in Georgia,’ is using a promotion system of judges to preserve its power over the court.
The survey, which covers 2015-2020 years, says that the vast majority of promotion decisions were based not on merit, but on the ‘personal, narrow interests of an influential group of judges’.
“This is made possible by existing legal framework, including the rules of the composition of the High Council of Justice and respective decision making regulations,” said the organisation.
TI Georgia says that the key problem with judicial promotion is the use of the powers granted by the High Council of Justice (HCJ), a body which selects and appoints judges around the country, for unsound purposes.
“When a judge is transferred to a court of a higher instance, no staffing needs of a specific court are considered. The interviewing process is also superficial and non-essential: it only lasts a few minutes and is mainly concerned with the candidates’ motivation; given the lack of substantiation for the decisions made by the HCJ by secret ballot, it is unclear whether the HCJ does indeed apply the established rules and criteria based on merit when it gives preference to a specific candidate,” said the TI Georgia.
It says that the existing rule of judicial promotion is mainly used by the HCJ to carry out a so-called rotation of judges between courts.
In order to solve problems, TI Georgia says decisions on promotions should be made by the double 2/3 majority of non-judicial and judicial members of the HCJ.
However, at the same time, the parliament must ensure that the HCJ is staffed with neutral and independent judicial members.
It also says that the rule concerning the appointment of judges without competition should be an exception and should not allow transferring to courts of a higher instance.