NGOs call on the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister of Georgia to show appropriate responsibility in appointing the new Chief Prosecutor
On December 30, 2013, the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, Otar Partskhaladze, resigned from the office. The events that developed in connection with him, including the questions that arose about his criminal record and legal education, clearly demonstrated the importance of selecting the right candidate and of the responsibility of the officials responsible for the selection and appointment of the Chief Prosecutor – the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister – in this process.
In accordance with Subparagraph A, Paragraph 3, Article 9 of the Law of Georgia on the Prosecutor’s Office, “The Chief Prosecutor shall organize and lead the activities of the Prosecutor’s Office. He/she shall be responsible for the activities of the Prosecutor’s Office”. Accordingly, the Chief Prosecutor should have a high professional and moral reputation. Otherwise, the process of administration of criminal justice will be damaged, and the public’s trust in the aforementioned agency will decrease further. Considering the aforementioned, it is necessary to study the biography, experience, and educational background of each candidate, as well as his/her vision of resolving the problems that exist in the Prosecutor’s Office and of the reforms to be implemented. It is important that the public know on the basis of what principles and values the new candidate for the office of the Chief Prosecutor is selected.
According to Paragraph 1, Article 9 of the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, “The Chief Prosecutor’s Office shall be headed by the Chief Prosecutor who is appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister upon the nomination of the Minister of Justice.” It is undisputed that the law grants the Minister of Justice special authority in selecting the candidate for the office of the Chief Prosecutor. Taking this into consideration, it is unfortunate that the Minister of Justice made the following statement on the First Channel of the Public Broadcaster: “The Prime Minister of Georgia is working on selecting the candidate for the office of the Chief Prosecutor. I’m not informed about which candidates may be under consideration.” Such a statement indicates that the executive branch attaches only formal importance to the participation of the Minister of Justice in the process of selection of the Chief Prosecutor, by which it diminishes the meaning of the law.
The law requires that the Minister of Justice assume personal responsibility for selecting the candidate for the office of the Chief Prosecutor. Joint participation of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice in the process of appointment of the Chief Prosecutor is a guarantee that the person appointed to this office will be morally and professionally suitable for this position. But the statement of the Minister of Justice makes it clear that, in spite of the requirement of the law, she is not involved in the process of selecting the candidate for the office of the Chief Prosecutor. All the aforementioned makes us think that the Prime Minister of Georgia intends to select the candidate for the position of the Chief Prosecutor on his own.
We call on the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister of Georgia to act in accordance with the aforementioned norm of the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office and to show appropriate responsibility in the selection and appointment of the Chief Prosecutor.
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
Transparency International – Georgia
Georgian Democracy Initiative
Georgian Bar Association
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Article 42 of the Constitution
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