Public Defender Responds to the Draft Law on the Postponment of Enactment of the Investigative Function of the State Inspector's Office
The Public Defender addresses the Parliament not to postpone the enactment of the investigative function of the State Inspector's Office until the mobilization of financial resources for this institution in the shortest period (until 1 July).
Effective investigation of ill-treatment is a positive obligation of a state. Over the years, local and international organizations have been refering to the systemic problems in the direction of effective investigation of human rights issues.
Since 2013, the Public Defender of Georgia has been indicating the necessity of creation of an independent investigative body in the parliamentary and special reports and recommending the establishment of such a mechanism in relation to the cases of deprivation of life and ill-treatment committed by law enforcers and in the penitentiary institutions.
Unfortunately, effective investigation remains one of the main challenges in the investigative system, the proof of which is the cases described in the Public Defender's Special Report on the Effictiveness of Investigations into Criminal Cases of Ill-Treatment and the significant shortcomings identified in the investigation of a few dozens of cases.
On 21 July 2018, the State Inspector’s Office was established on the basis of the law (N3273) adopted by the Parliament of Georgia, the aim of which was to carry out impartial and effective investigation into the cases of ill-treatment by law enforcers and deaths of persons under the effective control of the state. 1 January 2019 was indicated as the initial date of the enactment of the service, but later it was postponed until 1 July 2019.
Absence of financial resources was identified as the main reason for the postponement of the enactment of the State Inspector's Office as a result of examination of the issue by the Public Defender. In the Parliamentary Report 2018, the Public Defender recommended the Government of Georgia to ensure timely allocation of financial resources for the enactment and effective functioning of the State Inspector’s Office. In addition, on 10 May 2019, the Public Defender addressed the Prime Minister of Georgia with a recommendation for timely allocation of the necessary financial resources.
Just several days are left before the enactment of the law (1 July 2019). However, unfortunately, no necessary financial resources have been allocated so far, due to which, the Parliament of Georgia is starting to discuss the draft law in an accelerated manner, according to which, the enactment of the law will be put off until 1 November 2019.
It should be noted that on the one hand, no necessary financial resources have been allocated for the State Inspector's Office and on the other hand, according to the letter of 21 June 2019 of the State Inspector's Office, no consultation format has been established by the relevant state agencies for the purpose of determining/allocating the resources.
Thus, the Public Defender considers that if no necessary financial resources are allocated before 1 July 2019, another postponement of the enactment of the investigation function of the State Inspector's Office will be unjustified and can be evaluated as an artificial hindrance and unjustified delay of the enactment of one of the most important state institutions.
Consequently, we appeal to the Parliament of Georgia to ensure that the process is conducted is such a way that the public is given steady guarantees of smooth and full enactment of the State Inspector's Office in the shortest possible time.