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Gov’t Prepares Draft for Law Enforcement Crimes Committee

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 13
Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani on November 10 announced that a draft resolution for the creation of an independent investigative mechanism charged with combatting crimes committed by law enforcement officials is currently being finalized.

Tsulukiani made the announcement while attending the World Forum of Democracy Forum in Strasbourg, adding that she hoped the draft bill will be adopted and become law.”

The issue of creating a similar mechanism was raised by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in Georgia on several occasions. Until the justice ministry’s announcement, governmental officials generally a tepid response to the NGO’s pleas for an internal investigative body that would focus solely on crimes committed by police and security officers.

The draft law prepared proposes that a separate investigative body, independentof executive authorities, will have exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by law enforcement officials.

The newly created body will alsohave jurisdiction over any crime where a conflict of interest with the country’s law enforcement might arise during the investigation process or prosecution.

To ensure the legal and practical independence of the oversight committee, officials will have a mandate to unilaterally decide whether or not to initiate an investigation.

Under a draft law proposed by several NGOs in 2016, victim participation is secured through mandatory information disclosures.

According to the new draft, the committee will be headed by an independent commissioner selected with the involvement of all three branches of the Georgian Government and civil society.

Active political party members will be barred from sitting as the committee’s commissioner and the new body will accountable to the Georgian Parliament.

The post of commissioner will be elected by a 7-year term and be required to report to the parliament twice a year..

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) stated that the lack of institutional independence while investigating crimes allegedly committed by law enforcement officials remains a challenge for Georgia.

GYLA believes that in order to eradicate such structural or systemic deficiencies and to guarantee the independence and impartiality of investigations, it is of the utmost importance to establish an independent investigative committee with a mandate to ensure the institutional independence of investigations in all criminal cases.

Georgia’s Public defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, has regularly stressed the importance of creating an independent investigative committee.

“We see that the problems that were very intense in the past still exist at present… This type of oversight body will be an answer to impunity and response to the systematic problems," said Nanuashvili.