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Georgia’s Ministry of Justice shortlisted five judges on 28 April to replace Nona Tsotsoria at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Tsotsoria’s term at the court expired in January. Three of these will now be forwarded by the government for the ECHR’s consideration.
The Council of Europe rejected Georgia’s previous nominations on 24 January, citing their lack of qualifications. The rejected list included Giorgi Badashvili, a case lawyer at the ECHR Registry, Aleksandre Baramidze, Deputy Justice Minister since 2013, and Eva Gotsiridze, a member of Georgia's High Council of Justice.
The Council of Europe selects judges for non-renewable terms of nine years from lists of three candidates proposed by each member state.
Lado Chanturia, Sopio Japaridze, Shota Getsadze, Tamar Alania and Irakli Dondoladze were shortlisted by a 13-member state commission under the Ministry of Justice.
Georgia’s Public Defender, as well as local rights group the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), have criticised the latest nominations, claiming that strong candidates from Georgia were left out of the shortlist.
‘System-obedient judges were shortlisted’, GYLA head Ana Natsvilishvili told local media outlet Netgazeti, adding that judges whose qualifications and integrity are ‘undoubtable’ were left out of the list.
Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said that he has ‘questions to some members of the committee in regards to their objectivity’.
Nanuashvili said he does not exclude the possibility that the Council of Europe will again reject Georgia’s nominations.