"Article 42" is pleased to announce that Nana Mchedlidze, international expert joined the team.
Nana Mchedlidze obtained LLM from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom (2005-2006); LLM from Utrecht University in the Netherlands (2007-2008); LLB+LLM from Tbilisi State University in Georgia (1994-1999). Studied in Birmingham University in the United Kingdom, in the Council of Europe Human Rights Programme and within the same programme underwent internship at a non-governmental human rights organisation based in London, the Aire Centre (2002). Since 2009, has been a visiting lecturer of the Law School, the LLM programme of Tbilisi State University in international human rights law; since 2015, PhD candidate at the same university. Currently works for the EU4Justice project supporting penitentiary and probation systems as a senior human rights expert. Since 2018, has been cooperating with the Georgian Bar Association in terms of the adaptation programme and continued legal education.
In 2012-2016, as a legal expert of the EU/CoE funded projects provided consultation to the courts of general jurisdiction concerning the application of the ECHR in their judgments and decision; in 2008-2012, worked as a legal expert of UNDP Georgia; in 2001-2007, worked for the Constitutional Court in various positions, last position being the Hof the Legal Department; in 1998-2001, worked for the Ministry of Justice in various positions, last position being the Government’s Agent before the ECtHR.
In 2002-2019, under the auspices of the CoE, EU, UNDP, USAID/PROLoG, US Embassy’s Department of Justice, IRZ, GIZ, NRC, GYLA and other organisations, conducted training sessions for judges, assistant judges, prosecutors, lawyers, senior management of penitentiary establishments, medical professionals of the penitentiary system, the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia, NGO activists, journalists and students. As a CoE international expert provided training sessions on the ECHR for the supreme court judges, constitutional court judges and prosecutors of Montenegro, in Podgorica.
Nana Mchedlidze has published up to 40 works (handbooks, researches, and articles).
On October 22, the organization "Article 42 of the Constitution" is launching a large-scale training course at Tbilisi and Kakheti schools, which will help to increase tolerance towards students from foreign countries. About 300 students will take part in this venture.
Under the training module the lawyers of “Article 42 of the Constitution” will inform students about the refugees, persons with humanitarian status and asylum, will introduce the general information provided by the law about international protection tools, at the same time the students will learn what is the difference among the refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants' status.
The aim of the course is to increase tolerance towards the students from foreign countries. In addition, with this training module they will be able to distinguish between refugee and IDP status. They will also receive information on the situation in the countries of origin, of which the highest number of citizens come to Georgia. Students will be given an idea of the status of aliens or stateless persons granted refugee or humanitarian status in Georgia and what rights and responsibilities they enjoy while in Georgia.
The training course is held in the framework of the UNHCR project "Protecting and Strengthening Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Humanitarian Persons in Georgia".
The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary reacts to discussions concerning the authenticity of the diploma of Shalva Tadumadze, Prosecutor General of Georgia.
On October 9, Shalva Tadumadze was introduced to the Parliament Legal Committee as a judicial candidate for the Supreme Court. During the hearing, the Prosecutor General’s diploma attracted the attention of the deputies and the public.
During the hearing, the Prosecutor General provided an explanation regarding the year of his admission to the university, which was mistakenly indicated in the diploma, because this educational institution was not yet established in 1993, meaning Shalva Tadumadze could not have started his studies that year. This fact corroborates doubts that the information in the document is authentic.
Under Article 352 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, the issuance or/and purchase, as well as the use of forged official document, are punitive actions. Thus, this issue exceeds the realm of a political discussion over professional competence of a candidate and adds a legal dimension.
During the hearing, Shalva Tadumadze stated that, under the 1997 amendments to the Law on Education, he was allowed to graduate from the university in 1998, a year before the anticipated graduation date. The university reflected this information by changing the year of admission to 1993. Despite this explanation, it is still unclear why 1993 was indicated as his admission year, when at the time, the institution was not registered. Also, the university did not indicate in the diploma that the graduate took some exams without attending classes (a so called “externate program”).
It is worth mentioning, that the diplomas of several candidates raised questions, and the Legal Committee asked them to submit a document confirming compliance of their legal education with the requirements of the legislation before the voting procedure begins.
Higher legal education is a statutory requirement not only for a Supreme Court judicial nominee, but also for the Prosecutor General. The absence of such education makes a Prosecutor General unauthorized to perform his functions. This may have a legal effect on many official actions.
In addition to legal consequences, such facts may have a severely negative influence on public trust in governmental institutions. When the position of the Prosecutor General of the country is allegedly occupied by a person who does not comply with the requirements of the legislation and, furthermore, may have taken this position as a result of the use of a forged document, the reputation of the entire Prosecutor’s Office is damaged.
Thus, we believe that it is essential:
● to undertake a comprehensive investigation of authenticity of the diploma of the Prosecutor General to provide solid answers to legitimate questions concerning its and an alleged use of a forged official document;
● the Parliament shall not put Shalva Tadumadze’s candidacy to the vote until the above-mentioned procedures are finalized and all the questions concerning his diploma are addressed;
● the Parliament shall check the authenticity of the diploma of Shalva Tadumadze in accordance with the procedures envisioned in the law, and in case of establishing signs of a crime in the actions of Tadumadze, start the procedure of impeachment of the Prosecutor General under Article 48 of the Constitution of Georgia.
As it is known to the public, on September 4, 2019, the first phase of the selection of judges of the Supreme Court has been completed, as a result of which a list of 20 persons has been submitted to the Parliament of Georgia for consideration. The 14 candidates on the list are former or current judges of common courts. Article 42 of the Constitution requested the Tbilisi City Court to release the verdicts (judgments) adopted by the candidates (judgments) in the past, but the City Court has declined on the grounds that "the decisions of individual judges are not recorded, processed or posted in the public database."
We would remind the public that, pursuant to Article 13 of the Law on Common Courts, a decision made at an open court hearing is published in full on the court's website.
According to the Article 28, Part 1 of the General Administrative Code 1: Public information shall be open except as provided for by law and in the manner prescribed by state, commercial or professional secrets or personal data.
Legislation does not recognize the grounds for refusing to disclose public information, such as the absence of court records in the database.
Given the ruling team's announcement that they would guarantee the "unprecedentedly transparent and open procedures" for selecting Supreme Court judges and making statements that the parliamentary majority will "observe these candidates" under the microscope, without examining the candidates' professional experience is devoid of any real substance. The decisions made by the judge most clearly reflect the judge's competence and integrity.
Accordingly, we call on the judiciary to publicize the past judgments made by the judicial candidates and make them available to the Parliament as well as the general public as soon as possible.
The Georgian legislation envisions creation of a Working Group by the Legal Committee in the process of selection of Supreme Court justices. The purpose of the Working Group is to check candidates’ compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and supporting legislation.
On September 11, the Committee invoked this clause. The Working Group was created. The Chair of the Committee stated that “the logic of the legal provisions and the Parliament Rules of Procedure do not envision a substantive assessment of a candidate by the Working Group, considering its format.”
The Coalition is assessing this decision by the Parliament Legal Committee. An institution suggested by the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament is a so called “mixed commission,” consisting of both MPs and invited specialists. The main purpose of this institution is to study an issue comprehensively, considering both politicians’ and experts’ points of view. In “mixed commissions,” decisions are based on substantive and consensus-oriented discussions.
Under the Organic Law on Common Courts, judicial candidates must comply with two main criteria—competence and integrity. The purpose of the Working Group, as established in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, is to assist the Committee in checking candidates’ compliance with the requirements of the law. This purpose may not imply only formal review of decisions made by the High Council of Justice; the main purpose of the Working Group is to help the Committee decide whether the candidates nominated by the HCoJ substantively comply with the requirements of law.
Additionally, as mentioned above, the Working Group’s contribution involves efforts of both politicians and outside experts. This excludes a technical nature of this institution. The aims of the Working Group as defined by the Committee during the hearing can easily be reached by the Parliament staff.
Currently, 16 members of the Working Group are known, including 7 representatives of the ruling party, 5 from the opposition, 2 from academia, one from the Legal Aid Service and one from the Georgian Bar Association. Consultations are in progress with independent MPs. No civil society organizations, including Coalition members, are represented in the Working Group. Considering the Coalition’s active engagement in the recent developments, this decision excludes a critical and competent player from the process. Moreover, the political quotas in the Working Group are inflated, and academic institutions were not involved in selecting their representatives.
The Coalition urges the Committee to review its decision and to ask the Working Group to substantively assess candidates nominated by the High Council of Justice, to decrease the number of MPs, to ensure engagement of civil society organizations and to increase the number of experts.
 The Parliament of Georgia Rules of Procedure, Article 205, Paragraph 2.
The Parliament web-page, http://parliament.ge/ge/saparlamento-
dadgenis-xelshewyobis-miznit-komitetis-samushao-djgufi-sheqmna.page, renewed: 12.09.2019