Head of the Administration of the President of Georgia Andro Barnov held a briefing



“The President of Georgia used his constitutionally given power of veto today and vetoed legislative projects passed by the Parliament.

The first issue concerns relieving members of Georgia’s Supreme Council of Justice of their duty prematurely, before the end of their term.

In this specific case veto was used because of the following reason: the Parliament of Georgia ignored one of the most principle positions of the Venice Commission, which has a special importance, because it concerns not only the theoretical model, but the real context in which this change is taking place.

The Commission clearly recommended that it is an important function of the Supreme Council of Justice to protect judges from political pressure. Because of this function it would not be right to change the members of the Supreme Council right after the parliamentary elections. Parliament should abstain from actions, which would endanger permanence of the Supreme Council of Justice. Prematurely dissolving the council will set a precedent based on which every new parliament can relieve its members of command if it does not support their membership and appoint a new council. Such a change creates an opportunity to press the council during ongoing cases.

I remind you that the legislation passed by the Parliament relieves 13 out of 15 members of the council of their duties. Accordingly, recommendations of the Venice Commission in this very principle issue are ignored.

The fact that recommendations of the Venice Commission are not considered was reiterated to the Prime Minister of Georgia today at the Council of Europe.

The President is also using his veto power regarding the second issue concerning the limitation of the right of persons accused to choose whether their criminal cases are heard with the presence of jury or not. Based on the legislation project this decision will be made by the prosecutor’s office instead of the persons accused.

It has to be noted that, according to the nongovernmental sector’s opinion, the legislative project includes additional risks.

We considered giving an additional explanation to the society necessary, in terms of the President's above mentioned decision.

Right after this briefing the mentioned legislative projects will be sent to the Parliament of Georgia for further review.”

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