Nomination of Manana Kobakhidze as a Constitutional Court judge undermines the court’s reputation - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Nomination of Manana Kobakhidze as a Constitutional Court judge undermines the court’s reputation

27 January, 2017


It was officially announced on February 23 that the Parliamentary majority will nominate Manana Kobakhidze as a Constitutional Court judge.

Even though Manana Kobakhidze does meet the legal age and education requirements for the position, we believe that the selection of this candidate will undermine the Constitutional Court’s repuration for the following reasons:

  • Nomination of a current member of the Parliamentary majority and former vice-speaker as a Constitutional Court judge points to the government's willingness to politicize the judiciary and to compose it with politically loyal persons. Such an approach undermines the separation of power and the system of checks and balances between different branches of government.
  • After the Georgian Dream came to power, Manana Kobakhidze acted as one of its main speakers, voicing the ruling party’s opinions on almost all issues of importance, including cases that have been or will be appealed to the Constitutional Court. Kobakhidze is largely perceived by the public as a politician that voices the government’s position. Therefore, appointing such a candidate to the country’s highest court poses a threat the Constitutional Court’s political neutrality and will reduce public trust towards the decisions made by it.
  • In addition to political bias, questions have also been raised about Kobakhidze’s values, which do not seem to be in line with the constitutional principle of equality for all, the full understanding and acceptance of which is especially important for each Constitutional Court judge. In a newspaper interview in 2010, Kobakhidze stated that “one does not have to be an Orthodox Christian to find universally recognized immorality unacceptable. In European countries each individual is considered a regular, equal member of society. This is difficult for us to accept, because it contradicts Orthodox morality. There is a certain category of people, who seek asylum abroad based on this ...” Kobakhidze has expressed this attitude in later interviews as well. She also supported holding the referendum on the definition of marriage together with the 2016 parliamentary elections.
  • Manana Kobakhidze has also been a part of several corruption related scandals reported by the media, including the case of her brother, chairman of Tbilisi City Council Legal Committee, and the alleged corruption case related to the Pardon Commission. As a disclaimer, we are unable to prove the allegations that have been directed against Kobakhidze through the media.

Considering the above, we believe that the nomination of Manana Kobakhidze by the parliamentary majority as a candidate for a Constitutional Court judge undermines the court’s reputation and reduces public trust towards its decisions. This poses a threat to the institutional development of this important constitutional body. Therefore, we call on the Parliament to reject this candidacy.