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Georgia’s Ombudsman Criticizes Draft on State Inspector’s Service

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 3
The Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria criticizes the draft law on the State Inspector’s Service, an agency set up to investigate crimes committed specifically by law enforcers.

The draft was introduced by the Ministry of Justice on January 31. This bill envisages creation of an independent investigative mechanism, which will investigate alleged offences and crimes committed by the law enforcers.

The bill also reads that Georgia will no longer have a Personal Data Protection Inspector as soon as the State Inspector’s Service is established.

According to the project initiated by the Justice Ministry, the State Inspector will have the right to initiate an investigation into alleged violations committed by law enforcers and also by high-ranking officials, the only exceptions being the Chief Prosecutor, Minister of Internal Affairs and Head of State Security Service.

The State Inspector's Service will work in three main directions: investigating alleged ill-treatment, including torture, beating and other forms of treatment by law enforcers, protection of personal data and control of the principle of lawfulness in the process of secret investigations.

Once the new body is set up, it will be headed by now Personal Data Protection Inspector Tamar Kaldani, who will deal with both personal data issues and alleged violations by law enforcers.

The service will be controlled by Parliament, with a Head appointed by it to serve for five years.

Lomjaria believes that if the purpose of the draft law is to create a real independent investigative mechanism, it is necessary that the inspector's office will be able to conduct the investigation independently without the mandatory instructions from the Prosecutor's Office.

“Article 33 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which grants the Chief Prosecutor the authority to remove the case from one investigative organ and transfer it to another. This means that the jurisdiction of the draft law may be restricted by the Chief Prosecutor at any time and the same agency may investigate the offense, allegedly committed by its own employees,” the Public Defender’s 2017 report reads.

The Public Defender believes that the main challenge of the draft law is the procedural leadership and supervision function of the Prosecutor's Office on the investigation conducted by the State Inspector.