CDA Elizabeth Rood’s Media Comments on the Sidelines of Ambassadorial 2019 (December 17)
Q-n about the letter signed by Congressmen Kinzinger and Connolly
CDA Rood: We have seen the letter from Representatives Kinzinger and Connolly, but, as this letter expresses the views of members of Congress, I would refer you to the Congressmen’s office for a commentary.
Q-n about ongoing judicial reform
CDA Rood: The United States believes that an independent judiciary is a cornerstone of democracy. That is the reason why the United States has invested more than 30 million dollars over the years to partner with the Georgian Parliament and the Government towards creating a professional and independent judiciary. Over this period, we have seen important progress, for example: the greater professionalism of judges, the establishment of jury trials, better case management system, things that have improved the experience of ordinary Georgians in their interactions with the court. And, I would also point to the passage of the so-called fourth wave of judicial reform last week by Parliament as a very important step forward, and one that we have welcomed. Of course, there remains progress to be made to fully develop a judicial system that enjoys the confidence of all the citizens of Georgia, and the United States stands ready to continue our cooperation in that direction.
Q-n about the process of the judges’ nomination – “was the process fair?”
CDA Rood: I would say that the Parliament elaborated in a consultative process, a process that did not exist before, a multiphase process for the selection of Supreme Court justices. Then, in the implementation and results, we do have some concerns and we would like to continue to cooperate with Georgia so that future appointments will enjoy the confidence of every Georgian citizen.