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Georgian Themis hat in hand2011-07-22 14:33
Yesterday, Supreme Council of Justice of Georgia gathered representatives of NGO, diplomatic missions and journalists so as to share the happy news about its
achievements in the creation of an independent judicial system. However, an attempt to dust eyes has failed. It is very difficult to do in a country where over 99 percent of judicial sentences are judgements of guilty and where the court is subject to the prosecutor's office. Experts have no trust in judges.
In Georgia, any plans of even most insignificant changes always look grand and the reform of the judicial system has also been presented to the society as something of colossal importance. But it was found yesterday that in fact, only technical, cosmetic changes have been realized. The basis of the system existing in the country, which is the court's dependence on authorities, is not going to be changed. It's the wrong time: thousands of spies are being caught and in a situation like that, fair trials are out of the question; it's important to put people in prison quickly and for a long time.
Nevertheless, what are the positive results of the judicial reform, which the Council of Justice has so happily declared? The main point is that the law has approved of a timeless term of holding the post of a judge. Now Themis' servers are theoretically not that much dependent on the ruling environment and can feel freer in their activity. Generally speaking, in the international practice, irremovability of judges is really one of the main guarantees of their independence. But the Georgian justice has got so many problems that even global practices will hardly affect the situation. In the democratic countries, the government may influence the court only by way of appointing and removing judges; it has no other leverages of influence, while in Georgia, the ruling establishment presses the judges in dozens of ways, forcing them to submit to the prosecutor's office. First of all, they use pressure upon family members and threaten to create various problems to children and other relatives if no decision is taken.
Thus, the principle of irremovability of judges does not bother the authorities, for whom the court is no more than a punitive instrument. A judge who has taken a "wrong" decision will keep his post but his son or daughter will get in prison on some charge.
There is a number of other "revolutionary changes" in the judicial reform, which Secretary of the Supreme Council of Justice Valery Tsertsvadze spoke of at yesterday's meeting with experts and diplomats. Notably, new regulations of the citizens' application to court have been developed, implying the facilitation of procedures and corruption control. Relevant changes have been made to the administrative and procedural codes.