US sanctions Georgia judges

The State Department has banned four members of Georgian judiciary from entering the US, in a move condemned by Tbilisi

US sanctions Georgia judges

US sanctions Georgia judges

Tbilisi protested the move as an insult to sovereignty

The State Department has placed four Georgian judges on a visa blacklist, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday, accusing them of “involvement in significant corruption.”

“abused their positions as court Chairmen and members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system,” Blinken said in a statement.

“continues to stand with all Georgians in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain. We stand with all judges who have the integrity and courage to act impartially and independently,” Blinken added.

“attempt to subordinate the Georgian courts and Georgian justice system to the US,” according to the Interfax news agency.

“The US doesn’t think we’re a country,” Kobakhidze told the local TV channel Imedi. He vowed to protect Georgian interests at any cost and “show everyone we’re an independent state,” promising that he will not allow the country’s justice system to be “harmed by any unjust actions.”

The ruling party has yet to consider a response to the US sanctions, however.

Tbilisi faced a week-long riot last month over a proposed law on foreign agent registration, which the US embassy denounced as a threat to democracy. The State Department threatened sanctions against Georgia if the proposal was adopted, and thousands of opposition activists besieged the parliament for days until the lawmakers were intimidated into withdrawing the bill.