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JUDICIARY / Analytical Documents

Persecution of Critical Voices within the Judiciary - Assessment of Judge Nino Giorgadze's case



On November 1, 2023, the public learned about the decision of the High Council of Justice, which refused to appoint Judge Nino Giorgadze with life tenure after completing a three-year probationary period.[1] With this decision, the Council deviated from the existing practice of lifetime appointments of judges after completing probationary periods, especially considering that on November 3, 26 other judges who had completed their probation terms were appointed for lifetime.[2] At the same time, taking into account the challenges in the judicial system, Nino Giorgadze's public criticism of the problematic legislative changes of December 2021[3] raised suspicion that the refusal to appoint her for lifetime was aimed at suppressing critical voices within the system.

The Social Justice Center conducted a study analyzing the evaluation reports of Nino Giorgadze's performance during her probationary period prepared by the members of the High Council of Justice, as well as the decision of the Council on the complaint submitted by her. The studied documentation shows the problematic nature of this case as a precedent and of the probationary appointments and periodic evaluation system in general. In particular:

  • Considering the existing informal influences in the judiciary and the excessive power accumulated in the hands of the High Council of Justice, probationary appointments are an important mechanism for exerting undue influence on individual judges and controlling the influx of new judges into the system;
  • The current procedure for periodic evaluation of judges during the probationary period fails to achieve its intended goals in practice, is often abused, and its appeal mechanism is ineffective;
  • One of the most important challenges of the judicial system - excessive workload, resolution of which is the Council’s responsibility, is seen as a problem of individual judges and is used against them;
  • The substantiation in the evaluation report on Nino Giorgadze's 3-year performance is in clear contradiction with the points given and exhibit inconsistencies, casting doubt on the objectivity and independence of the evaluating members of the High Council of Justice;
  • Non-adherence to procedural deadlines is practically the only tangible problem in the evaluation reports for Nino Giorgadze. However, the Council assessed this issue as an individual problem of the judge and did not consider her heavy workload together with other factual circumstances hindering the efficient administration of cases.

Ultimately, the decision of the High Council of Justice not to appoint Nino Giorgadze with life tenure is another measure serving suppression of critical voices within the judiciary instead of the interests of justice.


Footnote and Bibliography

[1] Social Justice Center, Judge Nino Giorgadze was not appointed for life, which is a noteworthy precedent for the alleged suppression of critical opinion in the judicial system, November 3, 2023 (Available at: https://cutt.ly/WwNwfD3B; Accessed on: 23.02.2024).

[2] High Council of Justice, 26 judges appointed for life, November 3, 2023 (Available at: https://cutt.ly/RwNwgjhT; Accessed on: 23.02.2024).

[3] Nino Giorgadze's public opinion on the social network Facebook can be seen in full at the link: https://cutt.ly/iwNwhlit; Accessed on: 23.02.2024).

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