The Coalition Calls on the Independent Inspector to Study Cases of Gender -Based Harassment

The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary is concerned about the increasing frequency of statements at the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) sessions that are discriminatory based on gender and the increasingly unequal atmosphere, which is directed towards crushing dissent at the HCOJ.

At the March 26, 2018 session of the High Council of Justice (HCOJ), male judge members stated that their female non-judge colleague, Nazi Janezashvili was lying, that it was impossible to talk to her, and impossible to listen to her. This culminated with the HCOJ judge-member Sergo Metopishvili stating that Nazi may be controlled by her husband, Davit Gamisonia.

HCOJ Chair Nino Gvenetadze attempted to curtail the offensive directed towards Nazi Janezashvili. However, in the course of the session it became clear that Judge Gvenetadze herself felt isolated during the work of the working groups on the judicial reform action plan, which is directed by the HCOJ, and her own participation in the working groups was restricted because of her position regarding the inclusion of civil society in this process.

Unethical criticism of the female members by the male members of the HCOJ during the sessions and in the media, loaded with gender stereotypes, has become standard practice. This degrades the female members of the Council and creates a hostile environment for them. Specifically, HCOJ member Dimitri Gvritishvili stated on TV Iberia that is it uncomfortable for him that the male members of the HCOJ have to argue with ladies.

We believe that such gender discriminatory statements by the judge members directed towards the HCOJ female members create a hostile work environment for women. A hostile work environment and statements that are discriminatory based on gender are forms of gender-based harassment, according to international human rights standards. They limit women’s effective participation at the workplace, given that the process is humiliating and degrading.

According to Georgian legislation[1], violation of judicial ethics rules is a ground for judicial discipline. According to judicial ethics rules, judges must care for the prestige of the judiciary and should not behave in manner inappropriate for the authority of the court and the office of a judge, both inside and outside of the court[2]. At the same time, a judge must show due decorum, not use offensive, degrading words and expressions or discriminatory terminology. Additionally, a judge must advise court personnel to refrain from such statements[3].

The Coalition believes that the actions and systematically expressed approaches of the representatives of judicial corps that are discriminatory based on gender merit individual study and adequate reaction.

The Coalition for an Independent and Transparent Judiciary calls on the Independent Inspector of the High Council of Justice to commence disciplinary proceedings against specific members of the HCOJ, in accordance with Article 6 of the Law on Disciplinary Liability of Judges of Common Courts of Georgia and Disciplinary Proceedings.

The Coalition also calls on each member of the HCOJ to refrain from actions that establish an unfavorable and hostile work environment for the female members of the HCOJ and have signs of discrimination against women.


[1] Law of Georgia on Disciplinary Liability of Judges of Common Courts of Georgia and Disciplinary Proceedings

[2] Georgian Rules of Judicial Ethics, Article 4. http://www.supremecourt.ge/judges-self-governance/judges-ethics-code/ (in Georgian)

[3] Georgian Rules of Judicial Ethics, Article 20. http://www.supremecourt.ge/judges-self-governance/judges-ethics-code/ (in Georgian)

Newsletter:

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-date information about our activities.

Contact:

  • 5 Marjanishvili Street, 3rd Floor, Tbilisi 0102, Georgia.

  • +995 (32) 2505404