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“Court is free but not at 100%” Kote Kublashvili evaluated past ten years

26.12.2014

 
Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

“We think complete comfort must be created in every court for judges, parties of the dispute and attendees to create proper environment for them in the courtrooms. This room is a good example of it and I am happy with it,” On December 25, chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia Kote Kublashvili addressed to the society and media gathered at the opening ceremony of the modern courtroom for criminal cases at the Kutaisi Appeal Court. 

Later, Kote Kublashvili presented the report on the activities of the judiciary system for the past few years to the representatives of Imereti regional media. 

“Fundamental reform was implemented in the Georgian judiciary authority. We created easily accessible system, as a result of what applicant can appeal to the most convenient and nearest court and then appeal the initial judgments at two upper instances of the court too,” Kote Kublashvili said.

He spoke about partly eradicated problem of the so-called dragged out cases. According to his clarification, the judges made a huge contribution in it. They developed legislative amendments, which were reflected in the procedural code and as a result all those obstacles, which hindered the court hearings of cases, were canceled. 

“Of course, we still have dragged out cases but it cannot be compared with the past practice. Today, all three instances of the court finish discussion of criminal cases within 12 months; administrative cases within 14 months and civil cases within 16 months and half. I think it is a good progress,” the chairperson of the Supreme Court said.

He spoke about the Georgian judiciary reforms separately, but underlined several issues. Among them was creation of the High School of Justice, which gave opportunity to the acting judges to permanently take qualification trainings. “We created completely new system of the selection and training of the candidates. Before, judges were hired as a result of passed exams and interviews, now they take exams, are interviewed and then attend 10-month training course. With it the candidate acquires skills of leading court hearing as well as communication skills; afterwards, they again take exams and only after all these procedures the applicant takes up position of a judge.”

Kote Kublashvili said, much was done for the independence of judiciary system and at one sight the progress was also achieved but there is one issue that hinders absolute success.

“We say that judiciary system is independent. Particularly current government claims on that (when court judgments are acceptable for them) but I can agree with it only at 90-95%. Of course, Georgian court is independent but unfortunately not at 100 %. One obstacle for that is that nowadays judges occupy their positions only for three years. Whilst, as a result of the reform the Constitution of Georgia requires to appoint judges to the position for life that means judges will not be under threat of losing job regardless which political party is in power.   Judges shall be on the position until 65. However, it has never happened in practice,” the chairperson of the Supreme Court clarified.

Kublashvili believes that appointment of a judge to the position for only 3 years degrades not only the judge but entire judiciary system and to avoid this problem, it is urgently important to appoint judges on the positions for life term. 
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