GEO

Biographies of Supreme Court Judicial Candidates

01 October, 2019

 

On May 10, 2019, the High Council of Justice began the process of selecting candidates to be nominated to the Parliament of Georgia, which lasted for almost four months. On September 4, 2019, the Council selected 20 candidates for the Parliament to review and vote on.

Below is an overview of the biographies of selected candidates, high-profile court cases reviewed by them, their financial status, links to the government or the influential group of judges in the judiciary, and other relevant information.

Giorgi Mikautadze

Secretary of the High Council of Justice; Lifetime judge of Tbilisi City Court

Born on September 6, 1982, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2004.

Was a student at the High School of Justice in 2010-2011.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 8 years. Served as a Chair of the Administrative Cases Panel of Tbilisi City Court, and in 2015 - 2017 served as Chair of the same court. Became a member of the High Council of Justice in 2017, and later the Council Secretary.

Worked as a prosecutor prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections: 

Giorgi Mikautadze is considered to be one of the leaders of the influential group of judges in the judicial system:

  • He served as Head of the Secretariat of the Supreme Court in 2010, at the time when Mikheil Chinchaladze chaired the Administrative Cases Chamber of the same court.
  • He is a classmate and close friend to Member of Parliament Vano Zardiashvili, who has long been considered a contact person between the influential group of judges and the government.

High-Profile Cases:

Giorgi Mikautadze's name is associated with a case on political party financing dated July 2012, in which he fined 17 people for illegally donating money to political parties. Most of those that were fined were donors of opposition parties.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 5 hours and 10 minutes. Members of the High Council of Justice were able to ask questions in a more or less calm environment. There were cases when some judge members of the High Council of Justice were irritated by the number and content of questions posed by a non-judge member Nazi Janezashvili.

Even though the interview was fairly lengthy, the candidate was composed throughout the process, providing more or less exhaustive answers. Critical questions were posed mainly by two non-judge members of the Council, Nazi Janezashvili and Ana Dolidze. Although the candidate appeared to be qualified, his responses to critical questions expressed clear support for the influential group of judges in the judiciary.

Additional Information:

  • In May 2017, Giorgi Mikautadze supported the lifetime appointment of Mikheil Chinchaladze to the Court of Appeals.
  • Giorgi Mikautadze was on the 10-person list of candidates that the Council submitted to the Parliament on December 24, 2018 in violation of constitutional principles.
  • On December 27, 2018, he supported Levan Murusidze's lifetime appointment.
  • Giorgi Mikautadze’s wife, Maia Kvirikashvili, has served as a Tbilisi City Court Judge since 2018.
  • Giorgi Mikautadze has publicly and repeatedly expressed his support for the influential group of judges in the Georgian judiciary.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 164,189

Giorgi Mikautadze

GEL 90,675

Maia Kvirikashvili (spouse)

GEL 73,514

Total Household Liabilities: 

Loan Agreement, 2014

USD 25,000 

Loan Agreement (installment loan), 2018

GEL 1,695 

Loan Agreement (installment loan), 2018

GEL 3,193 

Loan Agreement, 2019

GEL 20,000

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Shalva Tadumadze                                                                

General Prosecutor

Born on January 22, 1978, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanities Institute, Faculty of Law in 1998.

Work Experience:

Has 19 years of work experience in the field of law, including serving on managerial positions. Served as the Parliamentary Secretary of the Government of Georgia in 2012-2018. Became the Head of the Government Administration in 2018. Holds the position of General Prosecutor since July 16, 2018. Worked as a personal lawyer to Bidzina Ivanishvili prior to 2012, businessman and founder of the Georgian Dream party.

Has no experience of judicial work.

Connections: 

Worked as Bidzina Ivanishvili's personal lawyer in 2011-2012.

High-Profile Cases: 

Actions of the Prosecutor’s Office under Shalva Tadumadze have raised suspicions about the prosecution's selective approach in relation to several high-profile cases, for example: June 20 (including filing charges against politicians Irakli Okruashvili and Nikanor Melia); TBC Bank founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze; and former Director of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 5 hours and 5 minutes. There were cases when questions posed by critical non-judge members of the High Council of Justice irritated the influential members of the Council. No significant problems were identified regarding the candidate's qualification, though he did get irritated by several questions and was aggressive in his responses towards the authors (non-judge members Nazi Janezashvili, Ana Dolidze, Irma Gelashvili). There were cases when the candidate did not provide convincing and substantiated responses to critical questions. The candidate also showed disrespect towards a constitutional body - the Public Defender, when he offered unsubstantiated criticism of the Public Defender's assessment regarding signs of collusive activity in the process of selection of Supreme Court judges. The candidate questioned the Public Defender's qualification and credibility in this regard.

Additional Information:

  • Shalva Tadumadze's diploma became an object of public interest upon his appointment as General Prosecutor. Transparency International Georgia tried to obtain Tadumadze's diploma for more than a year from various public institutions, including the Ministry of Justice, but to no avail. The case was taken to court, but this information was eventually made public by the High Council of Justice.

According to the diploma, Tadumadze enrolled in the N. Dumbadze Humanitarian Institute in 1993 and graduated in 1998. According to information obtained from the Public Registry, this Institute was registered and received an education license from the Ministry of Education in 1994. It is therefore unclear how Tadumadze could have enrolled in 1993 to an institute that, according to official documentation, was only registered in 1994. Another reason for suspicion is the face that the candidate himself has been reluctant to provide a comprehensive explanation regarding his diploma.

  • Shalva Tadumadze was selected as the General Prosecutor by the Prosecutorial Council, which includes the Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani as one of its members. Tea Tsulukiani is the godparent to Shalva Tadumadze's child.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 88,781

Shalva Tadumadze

GEL 88,781

Mzevinar Ansiani (spouse)

None

Total Household Liabilities:  None

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Tamar Alania 

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on July 8, 1976, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1998.

Work Experience:

Has worked as a judge for 14 years. Served as a judge of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals since 2006, and was granted life tenure on the same position in 2017. Served as a member of the High Council of Justice in 2013-2017. Used to be a prosecutor prior to becoming a judge.

Connections:  

Tamar Alania is considered to be a member of the influential group of judges in the Georgian judiciary.

In 2004-2005, Judge Alania worked as a prosecutor in the Special Unit for Criminal Prosecution of Cases of Illegal Income Legalization at the Prosecutor’s Office, at the time when Valeri Tsertsvadze, a former member of the High Council of Justice and one of the prominent leaders of influential group of judges in the judiciary, also worked at the Prosecutor’s Office.

Judge Alania was mentioned in Viber correspondence published by Shalva Ramishvili, where Ramishvili and the General Director of TV Imedi are planning the December 18 broadcast of the political talk show Politika. The correspondence revealed that the director of the TV channel, Giorgi Bakhtadze, is asking Ramishvili to invite specific judges and members of the High Council of Justice to the program. These were: Tamar Alania, Merab Gabinashvili, Dimitri Gvritishvili and Giorgi Tkavadze. The invited judges were supposed to pose critical questions to Levan Murusidze, the then Secretary of the High Council of Justice, but in reality they ended up supporting him during the program. The invited judges did not ask any critical questions and did not raise any problematic issues. Moreover, they deliberately concealed reality and provided the public with false information. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics found a violation in this case.

High-Profile Cases: 

In 2010, a Panel of judges at the Tbilisi Court of Appeals presided over by Judge Alania upheld the verdict of the first-instance court on the case of Mukhrovani military revolt, which involved a case against military personnel and civilians charged with organizing a government overthrow in the Mukhrovani military unit in 2009.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 3 minutes. During the interview, Dimitri Gvritishvili, judge member of the High Council of Justice and chair of the session, complained that Nazi Janezashvili was asking the same questions in different wording, but the candidate herself stated that she wanted to answer all types of questions. There were also cases when some judge members of the Council showed disrespect towards Nazi Janezashvili because of the content of her questions. The candidate appeared to be confident in her qualifications, answering the questions with proper substantiation. During the interview, she reaffirmed her support for Levan Murusidze and the group of influential judges in the judiciary. She also assessed the public protest towards a 10-person list of candidates that the Council had submitted to the Parliament on December 24, 2018 in violation of constitutional principles as ‘hysterical’.

Additional Information:

  • Tamar Alania became a member of the High Council of Justice in 2013. The Conference of Judges elected six other members at the time, including: Zaza Meishvili, Tamar Alania, Shota Getsadze, Ilona Todua, Paata Silagadze and Levan Murusidze.
  • On December 5, 2015, Alania supported the appointment of Levan Murusidze to the Tbilisi Court of Appeals, and following Levan Murusidze’s appointment at Secretary of the High Council of Justice, claimed that trust towards the judiciary and its independence had increased.
  • In 2017, Alania supported the lifetime appointment of Mikheil Chinchaladze to the Tbilisi Court of Appeals.
  • In 2017, Alania took part in the competition for judges to be submitted by Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights on two occasions. She failed to gain enough points both times for the Georgian government to submit her candidacy to the Council of Europe.
  • Tamar Alania was one of the 10 judges submitted by the High Council of Justice to the Parliament on December 24, 2018, in violation of constitutional principles.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 93,373

Tamar Alania

GEL 69,373

Shalva Margvelashvili (spouse)

GEL 24,000

Total Household Liabilities: 

Loan Agreement, 2016

USD 50,000

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Merab Gabinashvili

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on February 28, 1973, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1996.

Work Experience:

Has worked as a judge for 14 years. During this period, held administrative positions at the Tbilisi Court of Appeals (College / Panel Chair). Served as a member of the High Council of Justice in 2013-2017. Currently lifetime judge of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals and Chair of its Civil Cases Chamber. Worked as an investigator at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance prior to becoming a judge.

Connections: 

Merab Gabinashvili is considered to be a member of the influential group of judges in the Georgian judiciary. In 2006-2007, when Mikheil Chinchaladze served as a prosecutor in Gori, Gabinashvili was a judge of the Gori District Court.

Merab Gabinashvili was mentioned in Viber correspondence published by Shalva Ramishvili, where Ramishvili and the General Director of TV Imedi are planning the December 18 broadcast of the political talk show Politika. The correspondence revealed that the director of the TV channel, Giorgi Bakhtadze, is asking Ramishvili to invite specific judges and members of the High Council of Justice to the program. These were: Tamar Alania, Merab Gabinashvili, Dimitri Gvritishvili and Giorgi Tkavadze. The invited judges were supposed to pose critical questions to Levan Murusidze, the then Secretary of the High Council of Justice, but in reality they ended up supporting him during the program. The invited judges did not ask any critical questions and did not raise any problematic issues. Moreover, they deliberately concealed reality and provided the public with false information. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics found a violation in this case.

High-Profile Cases:

In 2019, Judge Gabinashvili reviewed the legality of preventive measures imposed on MP Nikanor Melia by Tbilisi City Court. The court of first instance imposed preventive measures on the MP in addition to bail, including: wearing an electronic bracelet and restriction on making public statements in public places. Both parties appealed the ruling. The defense argued that imposing a restriction on public statements for a lawmaker was unconstitutional, but this position was ignored by the judge. The judge also rejected the prosecution's request to change the preventive measure and impose detention. Ultimately, the judge upheld the ruling of the first instance court. 

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 5 hours and 55 minutes. This was one of the longest interviews. In some cases, questions from non-judge members of the High Council of Justice (Nazi Janezashvili, Ana Dolidze, Irma Gelashvili) irritated the judge members of the Council, which hindered the interview process several times and created a non-working environment. Throughout the entire interview, the candidate offered calm and substantiated replies to questions of legal nature. However, in response to questions about the system, including questions about Levan Murusidze and Mikheil Chinchaladze, the candidate responded with him support towards the influential group of judges in the system.

Additional Information:

  • Merab Gabinashvili became a member of the High Council of Justice in 2013. The Conference of Judges elected six other members at the time, including: Zaza Meishvili, Tamar Alania, Shota Getsadze, Ilona Todua, Paata Silagadze and Levan Murusidze.
  • In 2015, Gabinashvili expressed his wish to become Chair of the Supreme Court. He was nominated by a initiative group of judges for this position, but eventually President Giorgi Margvelashvili did not nominate him to Parliament.
  • In 2015, as a member of the High Council of Justice, Gabinashvili supported the appointment of Levan Murusidze to the Court of Appeals for a three-year term.
  • Merab Gabinashvili’s appointment process as a Tbilisi Court of Appeals judge for a three-year probationary period in 2016 was accompanied by a protest rally of the Georgian Bar Association held outside the building of the High Council of Justice.
  • Merab Gabinashvili actively supported Eva Gotsiridze’s initiative to impose a “limit on criticism” against judges. This initiative was negatively received by local NGOs, certain representatives of opposition parties, members of the Bar Association and the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics. The Charter described the initiative as “censorship”.
  • Merab Gabinashvili was one of the 10 judges submitted by the High Council of Justice to the Parliament on December 24, 2018, in violation of constitutional principles.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 87,635

Merab Gabinashvili

GEL 76,635

Eka Melkadze (spouse)

GEL 11,000

Total Household Liabilities: 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2017

USD 60,000

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Shota Getsadze

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on July 12, 1982, in Zestaponi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2004.

Graduated from the High School of Justice in 2011.

Work Experience:

Has worked as a judge for 9 years. During this time, worked on administrative positions. In 2011-2015, held the position of Chair of the College of Administrative Cases at Tbilisi City Court, and in 2011-2017, was a member of the High Council of Justice. Currently, served as a lifetime judge at the Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

The candidate's career in the judiciary began in 2003, as a court hearing secretary.

Connections: 

Shota Getsadze is considered to be a member of the influential group of judges in the Georgian judiciary:

  • According to the candidate, he has been in close contact with Mikheil Chinchaladze since the time they both served as court hearing secretaries.
  • The candidate worked with Mikheil Chinchaladze in the Supreme Court as well for two years. In 2007-2009, Shota Getsadze was Head of the Secretariat of the Chamber of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court, while Mikheil Chinchaladze was Chair of the same Chamber.

High-Profile Cases:

During the previous government, Judge Getsadze considered it lawful to revoke Bidzina Ivanishvili’s, businessman and founder of the Georgian Dream party, Georgian citizenship.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 45 minutes. There were cases when judge members of the High Council of Justice showed disrespect towards Nazi Janezashvili, a non-judge member of the Council, due to the content of her questions. The candidate was calm during the interview and answered the questions with proper substantiation. He did not show any disrespect towards the independent members of the Council. He expressed clear support towards the influential judges in the system.

Additional Information:

  • In 2015, he supported the appointment of Levan Murusidze to the Tbilisi Court of Appeals for a 3-year term.
  • In 2017, the government nominated him to be a judge in Strasbourg, but the Board of Experts in Strasbourg rejected his nomination.
  • Shota Getsadze was especially supportive of and loyal towards the influential group of judges in the High Council of Justice.
  • In 2017, he supported the appointment of Mikheil Chinchaladze as the lifetime Chair of Tbilisi Court of Appeals; in fact, Shotadze was the one who nominated Chinchaladze to the High Council of Justice for this position.
  • As a member of the High Council of Justice, Shota Getsadze supported the initiative of a non-judge member of the Council, Eva Gotsiridze, to impose a “limit on criticism” against judges. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics assessed the initiative as “censored”.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 119,386 and EUR 1,800

Shota Getsadze 

GEL 95,626

EUR 1,800 (remuneration from expert services)

Teona Khmaladze (spouse)

GEL 23,760 

Total Household Liabilities:

Loan Agreement (credit card), 2016

GEL 15,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2016

USD 50,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Miranda Eremadze

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on July 15, 1973, in Zugdidi

Education:

Graduated from the Professor J. Bakradze Tbilisi Institute of Law and Economics in 1995.

Studied at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Business Law in 2015-2016.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 14 years. Served as Chair of the Administrative Committee of the Conference of Judges in 2016-2017, and Chair of the Association of Judges in 2016. Currently serves as a lifetime judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

Worked as a lawyer in the publishing house of the Ministry of Finance prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections:  

Miranda Eremadze is considered to be a member of the influential group of judges in the Georgian judiciary: In 2000-2004, she worked with Levan Murusidze and Mikheil Chinchaladze in Tbilisi District Court.

High-Profile Cases:

Miranda Eremadze reviewed the case of Davit Patsatsia’s administrative detention. On September 21-22, 2012, Davit Patsatsia, Dachi Tsaguria and Beka Aladoshvili were detained on the grounds of disobedience to police orders. Miranda Eremadze sentenced Patsatsia to 40 days in administrative detention. According to the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, which defended the interests of the detainees, there were several gross violations of the law by the judges during the court hearing, which did not allow the defense to prove that the detainees had not committed any offenses. According to GYLA, the analysis of these cases had given rise to a reasonable doubt that the detainees had been arrested for their political and civic activity and not for any offense.

These cases were also included in a report by Transparency International Georgia, which assesses the results of pre-election monitoring. The report raised suspicions that the administrative arrests in these cases were politically motivated.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Non-judge members of the High Council of Justice, Nazi Janezashvili and Ana Dolidze, requested that the interview be postponed on the grounds that it was already past working hours, but the Council did not grant this request, so the two members left the session. Council members did not ask critical questions to the candidate. The candidate's answers to the questions were not sufficiently substantiated and convincing. In addition, the candidate expressed clear support for the influential group of judges in the system.

Additional Information:

At the 16th extraordinary Conference of Judges, she supported the appointment of Levan Murusidze as a judge for a 3-year probation period. In addition, Miranda Eremadze criticized the then-President Giorgi Margvelashvili, saying: “The President of Georgia has also joined this campaign [the campaign to discredit judges]; his actions constitute an attempt to indirectly influence the High Council of Justice by deliberately creating a negative public attitude towards Murusidze’s appointment.”

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 79,030 

Miranda Eremadze

GEL 72,444 

Malkhaz Grigalava (spouse)

GEL 6,236 

Ani Grigalava (child)

GEL 350 

Total Household Liabilities: 

Loan Agreement (mortgage) 2016

USD 140,000 

Loan Agreement (consumer loan), 2017 

GEL 15,060 

Loan Agreement, 2017 

GEL 10,000 

Loan Agreement, 2018

USD 153,000 

Loan Agreement, 2018 

USD 40,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Mamuka Vasadze

First Deputy General Prosecutor

Born on June 24, 1981, in Batumi

Education:

Graduated from Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University with a degree in Law in 2003.

Work Experience:

Has 15 years of work experience in the field of law. Held various positions at the Ministry of Finance in 2005-2014, including management positions. Served as First Deputy Chief Prosecutor in 2015-2018. Served as acting Chief Prosecutor in June-July 2018. Currently holds the position of First Deputy General Prosecutor.

Has no experience of judicial work.

Connections:

Since July 16, 2018, Mamuka Vasadze is the First Deputy of General Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze. Vasadze is closely associated with Tadumadze, who was a personal lawyer of Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2011-2012, businessman and founder and of the Georgian Dream party.

High-Profile Cases:

During his time in the Prosecutor’s Office, Mamuka Vasadze’s name is associated with the following high-profile cases: the so-called Cyanide Case, TV Imedi Case, Khorava Street Case, Case of Saakashvili’s Extradition, and November 7 Dispersal Case. He also personally headed the investigation into the case of Iuri Vazagashvili.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 46 minutes. The candidate answered the questions in a composed and convincing manner. However, the candidate was unable to provide substantiated and comprehensive answers to questions about human rights, such as freedom of expression.

Additional Information:

  • Mamuka Vasadze became the acting Chief Prosecutor after the resignation of Irakli Shotadze, who resigned as a result of strong public outcry over the Khorava Street murder case.
  • The police officer Gia Sosanashvili, convicted for the case of Iuri Vazagashvili, accused Mamuka Vasadze of torture. During the interview, Mamuka Vasadze stated that no such thing had taken place. No investigation has been launched into this case.
  • Giorgi Mamaladze, the person arrested in the so-called Cyanide Case, claimed that upon his arrest, prosecutors and investigators, including First Deputy Chief Prosecutor Mamuka Vasadze, were asking him to confess to having tried to murder the Patriarch, even though he had been formally charged of having tried to kill Shorena Tetruashvili.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 110,981 

Mamuka Vasadze

GEL 110,981 

Total Household Liabilities: 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018

USD 180,000 

Loan Agreement, 2014

GEL 10,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2015 

USD 20,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Maia Vachadze

Supreme Court Judge

Born on April 29, 1962, in Ambrolauri

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1984.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 25 years; served as a Supreme Court judge for 20 years.

Worked on various positions at the Ministry of Justice prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections: 

The candidate is not considered to be a member of the influential group of judges in the judiciary.

Maia Vachadze was a judge of the Administrative and Other Cases Chamber of the Supreme Court in 2007-2017, at the time when Mikheil Chinchaladze chaired the same Chamber.

High-Profile Cases:

  • The Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, of which Maia Vachadze was a member, reviewed the case of TV company Rustavi 2, which transferred the company shares to businessman Kibar Khalvashi. The case was appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which found no violation.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 23 minutes. During the interview, judge members of the High Council of Justice, Sergo Metopishvili and Vasil Mshvenieradze, protested a question posed by a non-judge member of the Council, Nazi Janezashvili. As a response to this commotion, the candidate stated that she was ready to provide comprehensive answers to all questions. The candidate was composed throughout the interview, appeared to be qualified, and her answers were substantiated and comprehensive.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income:  GEL 115,099

Maia Vachadze

GEL 112,671 

Paata Dateshidze (spouse)

GEL 2,428 

Total Household Liabilities: None

  

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Tamar Zambakhidze

Tbilisi Court of Appeals Judge (3-year probation period)

Born on January 26, 1975, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1997.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 15 years. Served as a Tbilisi City Court judge in 2005-2007. Has served as judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals since 2007. Was re-appointed for a 3-year probationary term in 2017.

Worked at the Tbilisi State University, Department of Civil Law prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections: 

None

High-Profile Cases:

None

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 41 minutes. The candidate answered the questions in a composed manner. Answering a question about the process of submission of the infamous 10-person list on December 24, 2018, the candidate stated that she “does not assess it negatively”, and expressed clear support for Levan Murusidze.

Additional Information:

According to the 2017 Report on asset declaration monitoring by the Civil Service Bureau, violations were identified in Tamar Zambakhidze's declaration.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 84,901

Tamar Zambakhidze

GEL 84,901 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2017

USD 43,500 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018 

USD 50,000 

Guarantee, 2017 

GEL 12,423 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Nugzar Skhirtladze

Supreme Court Judge

Born on August 31, 1960, in Tbilisi

 Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1985.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 21 years; has served as a Supreme Court judge for 20 years.

Worked at the Ministry of Justice and then at the Government Administration prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections:

None

High-Profile Cases:

None

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours. There were cases when some judge members of the High Council of Justice were irritated by questions posed by a non-judge member Nazi Janezashvili. Throughout the interview, the candidate was composed, providing exhaustive answers.

Additional Information:

  • Nugzar Skhirtladze’s wife Giuli Kalandarishvili works as a leading specialist in Tbilisi City Court.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 141,285 

Nugzar Skhirtladze

GEL 126,225 

Giuli Kalandarishvili (spouse)

GEL 15,060

Total Household Liabilities:   None

 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration 

**Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Zaza Tavadze

Chairperson of the Constitutional Court

Born on February 9, 1975, in Zestaponi

Education:

Graduated from the Open Humanities Institute in 1996 with a specialization in Law.

Completed a German language Master’s Program at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2001-2002.

Received a PhD from Grigol Robakidze University in 2017

Work Experience:

Has over 20 years of work experience in the field of law. Serves as a member of the Constitutional Court since 2010; served as a Deputy Chair of the same court in 2010-2016. Serves as Chair of the Constitutional Court since October 20, 2016.

Worked at the Prosecutor’s Office and as Deputy Minister Justice prior to joining the Constitutional Court.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 53 minutes. The candidate's answers to some questions were not sufficiently substantiated, and, in some cases, it seemed that the candidate was trying to evade the question.

Additional Information:

  • Worked as Deputy Minister of Justice in 2008-2010, at the time when Zurab Adeishvili was the Minister.
  • Zaza Tavadze was appointed as a judge of the Constitutional Court by the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Georgia, consisting of: Konstantine Kublashvili, Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Zaza Meishvili, Valeri Tsertsvadze, Vasil Roinishvili, Paata Silagadze.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 128,608

Zaza Tavadze

GEL 117,683

Tea Dzotsenidze (spouse)

GEL 10,925  

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement, 2017 

GEL 16,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2017 

GEL 120,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018 

GEL 20,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018 

GEL 137,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Vladimer Kakabadze

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on November 19, 1974, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1996.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 14 years. Served as a judge of the Tbilisi City Court Civil Cases Panel in 2006-2019. Was appointed as a lifetime judge of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals in July 2019. Prior to joining the judiciary, worked as a consultant to the Secretariat of the Civil and Bankruptcy Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court in 2000-2006.

Connections:

None

High-Profile Cases:

  • In 2016, Judge Vladimer Kakabadze ordered Philip Morris to pay GEL 93 million in favor of JSC Tbilisi Tobacco, which was subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeals. Case proceedings in the first instance court were conducted with significant procedural violations, while the decision was so unfounded that it raised doubts about the judge's impartiality. The decision was widely criticized; the then US ambassador Ian Kelly stated that: “According to one opinion, Georgian courts are not fully impartial when making decisions in disputes between the state and private businesses”. Commenting on the decision by Vladimer Kakabadze specifically, Ian Kelly stated that: “I think the qualification of judges is one of the problems, when judges do not fully understand all of the details of a case”.
  • Vladimer Kakabadze sued Fadi Asli, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, and demanded GEL 20,000 compensation for moral damages after the latter had accused Kakabadze of being corrupt for his decision in the case of Philip Morris. Interestingly, Tbilisi City Court granted Vladimer Kakabadze's claim and ordered Fadi Asli to pay GEL 3,000 to the judge. Ultimately, in April 2019, the Supreme Court overturned this decision of the City Court and the lawsuit of Vladimer Kakabadze was rejected.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 9 minutes. It did not proceed in a calm manner. The candidate responded aggressively and with an ironic attitude to questions posed by two non-judge members of the High Council of Justice, Nazi Janezashvili and Ana Dolidze. The interview had to be suspended at one point, because the candidate lost his temper after hearing one of the questions. In some cases, the answers provided to qualification related questions did not appear to be convincing and substantiated.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 87,926

Vladimer Kakabadze

GEL 61,020 

Lia Gochiashvili (spouse)

GEL 26,906 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement, 2018

GEL 35,000

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018 

USD 60,000 

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2016 

USD 55,000

*Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

**Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Nino Kadagidze

Tbilisi Court of Appeals Judge (10-year term)

Born on July 30, 1969, in Tbilisi

 Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1993.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 20 years, including 10 years in the Supreme Court. Currently serves as a judge of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

Worked on various positions at the Ministry of Justice prior to joining the judiciary.

Connections:

  • Served as a judge of the Administrative Cases Chamber of the Supreme Court in 2002-2012, at the time when Mikheil Chinchaladze chaired the same Chamber.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 37 minutes. During the process, the candidate was able to answer the questions in a composed, confident and substantiated manner.

Additional Information:

  • Nino Kadagidze was on the infamous 10-person list of candidates that the High Council of Justice had submitted to the Parliament on December 24, 2018.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 90,700 

Nino Kadagidze

GEL 90,700

Total Household Liabilities: None

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration 

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Levan Mikaberidze

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on March 7, 1982, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2005.

Graduated from the High School of Justice in 2013.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 7 years. Served as a judge at Batumi City Court in 2013-2016. Served as a judge at Tbilisi City Court Civil Cases Panel in 2016-2019. Currently serves as a lifetime judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

The candidate's career began at the Tbilisi Court of Appeals in 2006 from a courier position. The candidate worked on various positions in the common courts system in 2006-2013.

High-Profile Cases:

Levan Mikaberidze reviewed the case of LLC Tbilaviamsheni partners and JSC Tbilaviamsheni shareholders. The dispute was about a piece of property worth GEL 67 million that Tbilaviamsheni shareholders had gifted to the state in 2010. According to the July 26, 2017 ruling of the Tbilisi City Court, Judge Levan Mikaberidze dismissed the shareholders' lawsuit. Despite the evidence in the case, the court found that the gifting of property to the state was an expression of free will, rather than coercion. The dispute is currently being reviewed by Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 2 hours and 58 minutes. The candidate was composed throughout the interview process and provided substantiated answers. The candidate did not share his vision of existing problems in the judiciary, due to the fact that no related questions were asked. The reason may have been the fact that a non-judge member of the Council, Nazi Janezashvili, who posed these questions to other candidates, was not present at the hearing.

Additional Information:

The High Council of Justice created a narrow specialization of commercial disputes in 2017 that deals with high value commercial disputes. Four judges were assigned to this specialization based on unclear criteria, one of them being Levan Mikaberidze.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Income: GEL 81,976

Levan Mikaberidze

GEL 81 976 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement, 2016 

GEL 8,000 

Loan Agreement, 2017 

GEL 10,300 

Loan Agreement, 2018 

GEL 15,350 

Loan Agreement, 2018 

GEL 18,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration 

 

Ketevan Tsintsadze

Independent Inspector

Born on September 5, 1988, in Tbilisi

 Education:

Graduated from the Georgian Technical University in the field of Law in 2009.

Received a Master’s Degree in Law from the Georgian Technical University in 2011.

Received a PhD in Law from Grigol Robakidze University in 2019.

A PhD student in the field of law at the Caucasus International University since 2019.

Work Experience:

Has 11 years of work experience in the field of law. Holds the position of an Independent Inspector at the High Council of Justice since November 2017. Served on various positions at the Supreme Court before that.

Has no experience working as a judge.

Connections:

  • Used to an Assistant to Mikheil Chinchaladze at the Supreme Court.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 35 minutes. A question about alleged nepotism in Inspector’s Office posed by a non-judge member of the High Council of Justice, Nazi Janezashvili, was followed by an uproar. The candidate herself was composed during the interview and appeared to be qualified.

Additional Information:

  • At the time when Ketevan Tsintsadze served as an Independent Inspector, several judges (Dimitri Gvritishvili, Sergo Metopishvili, Levan Murusidze) had publicly violated ethics rules, which is a basis for disciplinary proceedings. No disciplinary proceedings were initiated on any of these cases. Former MP of the Georgian Dream Eka Beselia also appealed to the Inspector's Office to investigate the case of judge Sergo Metopishvili, however, no information in available about the response.
  • Of the 7 employees at the Independent Inspector’s Office, 3 are Ketevan Tsintsadze's acquaintances or former employees, including Vano Bolkvadze's wife. Vano Bolkvadze is currently the Director of the High School of Justice; at the time when Chinchaladze headed the Administrative Cases Chamber of the Supreme Court, Vano Bolkvadze was the head of the Secretariat, which made him a coworker to Ketevan Tsintsadze.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 69,332

Ketevan Tsintsadze

GEL 58,880 

Archil Maisuradze (spouse)

GEL 10,452 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Consumer Loan, 2019 

GEL 17,680

Mortgage Loan, 2016 

USD 34,000

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Paata Silagadze

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on November 10, 1976, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in 1998.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 14 years, including 10 years in the Supreme Court. Served as a judge and chair of the Mtskheta District Court in 2006-2008. Served as a member of the Criminal Cases Chamber and Chair of the Qualification Chamber of the Supreme Court from 2008 to May 2019. Served as a member of the High Council of Justice in 2013-2017.

The candidate began his career in the judiciary.

Connections:

  • Served as Chair of Mtskheta District Court and Chair of the Criminal Cases Panel at the same court in 2006-2008, at the time when Mikheil Chinchaladze was the prosecutor in Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
  • Served as a judge assistant at the Criminal Appeals Chamber of Tbilisi District Court, at the time when Levan Murusidze worked there.
  • Served as a judge assistant at the Criminal Appeals Chamber of Tbilisi District Court, at the time when Mikheil Chinchaladze worked there.

High-Profile Cases:

  • As a Supreme Court Judge Paata Silagadze reviewed the case of Gia Gvichiani and Nika Chemia and upheld the verdict, which sentenced them to 15 years in prison. The defendants were acquitted in 2017, though by this time they had been in custody for 11 years.
  • In 2010, the Supreme Court of Georgia, chaired by Paata Silagadze, reviewed and upheld a decision without an oral hearing that had sentenced Eka Beselia's son to 6 months in prison.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes. The candidate was composed during the interview. His answers to profession-related questions, especially human rights, were not substantiated. The candidate expressed his full support for the influential group of judges in the judicial system.

Additional Information:

  • Paata Silagadze’s wife, Tea Giorgadze, holds the position of a Department Head Prosecutor at the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia.
  • Paata Silagadze became a Member of the High Council of Justice in 2013. The Conference of Judges elected six other members at the time including: Zaza Meishvili, Merab Gabinashvili, Shota Getsadze, Ilona Todua, Tamar Alania and Levan Murusidze.
  • In 2013, at the Conference of Judges, Paata Silagadze withdrew his candidacy in favor of Levan Murusidze and stated that: “He is a decent person and I really trust him. Therefore, I considered it necessary not to submit my candidacy”.
  • In 2015, Paata Silagadze supported the appointment of Levan Murusidze to the Court of Appeals.
  • Paata Silagadze was on the infamous 10-person list of candidates that the High Council of Justice had submitted to the Parliament on December 24, 2018.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 132,702

Paata Silagadze

GEL 100,980

Tea Giorgadze (spouse)

GEL 31,722

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2015

GEL 60,000

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Lali Papiashvili

Former Judge of the Constitutional Court

Born on January 22, 1972, in Tbilisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1994.

Was granted a Candidate of Law degree from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in 1997.

Was awarded the academic title of Docent in 2000.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 17 years. Served as a member of the Constitutional Court of Georgia for 10 years, including as a Deputy Chair of the same Court in 2016-2017.

Member of Parliament in 2004-200; Deputy Chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration; Member of the Committee on Legal Affairs. Served on various positions in the Bureau of the Parliament in 1996-2003.

Connections:

None

High-Profile Cases:

As a Judge of the Constitutional Court, Lali Papiashvili reviewed the cases of TV Company Rustavi 2, LLC TV Company Georgia, Giorgi Ugulava and the so-called Cable Case, in which she filed a motion to recuse herself after Rustavi 2 reported a story about her mother-in-law.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted 3 hours and 30 minutes. There were cases when some judge members of the High Council of Justice were irritated by questions posed by a non-judge member Nazi Janezashvili. The candidate was composed throughout the interview and answered the questions in a qualified and substantiated manner.

Additional Information:

  • In 2017, the government nominated Lali Papiashvili, along with Lado Chanturia and Otar Sichinava, as judicial candidates for Strasbourg. Ultimately, Lado Chanturia was appointed as a judge in Strasbourg.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Income: GEL 42,565 and EUR 2,300

Lali Papiashvili

GEL 42,565 

EUR 2,300 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement (credit), 2015 

GEL 721,000 

Loan Agreement (American Express), 2015 

GEL 5,000 

Loan Agreement (Prime Card), 2015 

GEL 5,000

Installment Loan, 2017 

GEL 5,000 

Installment Loan, 2017 

GEL 2,210 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Gocha Jeiranashvili

Lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals

Born on November 29, 1977, in Akhaltsikhe

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2002.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 11 years, including administrative positions. Currently serves as a lifetime Judge of Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

Worked on various positions at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor's Office prior to joining the judiciary.

High-Profile Cases:

  • In 2013, Gocha Jeiranashvili acquitted police officials charged with rape and torture. According to the victims, no justice could be achieved in the hands of Judge Gocha Jeiranashvili. According to them, he was a loyal employee to Vano Merabishvili in Samtskhe-Javakheti.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted 2 hours and 34 minutes. There were cases when some judge members of the High Council of Justice were irritated by questions posed by a non-judge member Nazi Janezashvili. The candidate was unable to provide substantiated answers to questions testing his qualification.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income:  GEL 86,105 

Gocha Jeiranashvili1

GEL 83,499 

Maia Pachulia (spouse)

GEL 2,606 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018

EUR 74,000

Loan Agreement (consumer loan), 2018 

GEL 29,240 

Loan Agreement (installment loan), 2018 

GEL 1,440 

Loan Agreement (consumer loan), 2018

GEL 48,500 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

Aleksandre Tsuladze

Managing Partner at CLL Law Firm

Born on June 7, 1984, in Batumi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 2006.

Attended the Master’s Program in International Commercial Law at La Sapienza University in Rome in 2009-2010.

Was awarded a PhD in Law from Tbilisi State University in 2016.

Work Experience:

Worked as a lawyer for 13 years. Has been a Managing Partner of a law firm CLL Law Firm since 2017. Worked as an Advisor at the Administrative Department of the Ministry of Justice in 2011-2012. Has worked on various positions in the Supreme Court and the High Council of Justice.

Has no experience of judicial work.

Connections: 

  • Worked as an Advisor at the Administrative Department of the Ministry of Finance in 2011-2012, at the time when Zurab Adeishvili was the Ministry of Justice.
  • Worked as a Deputy Head of the Analytical Department of the Supreme Court in 2012-2014, and later Head of the same department in 2014-2015, at the time when Kote Kublashvili presided over the Supreme Court.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes. Throughout the process, the candidate answered the questions in a composed and substantiated manner. He appeared to be qualified for the position.

Additional Information:

Financial Declaration:

Annual Income: GEL 40,817

Aleksandre Tsuladze

GEL 40,817 

Total Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement (mortgage), 2018

USD 35,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

 

Lasha Kochiashvili

Tbilisi City Court Judge (3-year probation period)

Born on December 9, 1977, in Kutaisi

Education:

Graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law in 1999.

Work Experience:

Worked as a judge for 13 years. Served as Chair of Kutaisi City Court and Borjomi District Court. Currently serves as a judge of Tbilisi City Court.

The candidate began his career in the judiciary.

High-Profile Cases:

Lasha Kochiashvili's name is associated with the case of Rustavi Metallurgical Plant, in which the company accused the judge of endangering the company’s existence. The unsubstantiated decisions made by Lasha Kochiashvili at the time raised doubts about court bias.

Lasha Kochiashvili was also a judge in the case of LLC Studio Maestro. On March 15, 2016, Lasha Kochiashvili made the decision to terminate the insolvency case of Studio Maestro. This decision led to changes in Maestro's management and editorial policy.

Lasha Kochiashvili reviewed the case of LLC Aka. His decisions on this case, among other circumstances, raised doubts about court bias.

Lasha Kochiashvili also reviewed the case filed by Nino Nizharadze, a 9% shareholder of Rustavi 2. One of Nijaradze's demands was for the court to terminate the authority of Nika Gvaramia, General Director of the TV Company. The then management of Rustavi 2 viewed the dispute as a government-run war against the channel.

Interview and Evaluation of the Candidate: 

The interview lasted for 1 hour and 55 minutes. Two non-judge members of the High Council of Justice, Nazi Janezashvili and Ana Dolidze, were not present at the hearing. They had informed the Council about their absence in advance. The candidate’s qualification and vision could not be evaluated due to scarcity of questions. The candidate gave unconvincing and unsubstantiated answers.

Additional Information:

  • Lasha Kochiashvili is one of the judges who left the Unity of Judges after the association had issued critical statements towards the High Council of Judges on March 31, 2017.
  • The High Council of Justice created a narrow specialization of commercial disputes in 2017 that deals with high value commercial disputes. Four judges were assigned to this specialization based on unclear criteria, one of them being Lasha Kochiashvili.
  • In March 2012, the Georgian Dream Coalition demanded disciplinary proceedings against Lasha Kochiashvili. At the time, Kochiashvili was reviewing a dispute over the building that held Georgian Dream's head office, with Eka Beselia as the lawyer. According to the Coalition, the judge artificially delayed proceedings, limiting the Coalition's political activities.
  • Lasha Kochiashvili’s mother-in-law, Pikria Kamladze, donated GEL 5,000 to candidate Salome Zurabishvili during the 2018 presidential election.

Financial Declaration:

Annual Household Income: GEL 61,269

Lasha Kochiashvili

GEL 61,020 

Ana Khijakadze (spouse)

GEL 249 

Total Household Liabilities:  

Loan Agreement, 2016

USD 19,000 

* Information is based on the 2019 Asset Declaration

** Detailed information about the candidate can be found at: https://bit.ly/2lWz8Wl

 

  

The implementation of the document was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Transparency International Georgia is responsible for the content of the report. It might not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US government or, East-West Management Institute (EWMI).

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