CSOs Concerned, as State Inspector Office Launch Pushed to November

The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, uniting around 40 local civil society organizations, called “alarming” the Georgian government’s decision to push back the operation of the State Inspector Service, an independent investigative agency for crimes committed by law enforcement officers and public officials, to November 1. The government cites the lack of financial resources.

In a joint statement released on July 3, the Coalition noted that “an unconditional need for timely and effective putting into operation” of the State Inspector Service became obvious amid alleged crimes committed by the law enforcement officers against protesters rallying outside the Parliament building on June 20-21.

The CSOs said that they had been demanding the operation of an independent investigation mechanism for years largely “due to public mistrust towards and impunity of the law enforcement officers”. They say the alleged crimes and violations by police officers on June 20-21 would have fallen under the State Inspector Service’s purview had the financial resources been allocated in a timely manner.

The Law on the State Inspector Service was adopted in July 2018. Its enactment was initially planned from January 1, 2019, but was postponed first till July 1 and later till November 1. On June 11, the Parliament confirmed Londa Toloraia as the State Inspector for a six-year term.

Demanding “duly putting into operation” the State Inspector Service, the Coalition reminds the government of shortcomings in the legislation regulating the new agency:

  • The CSOs claim that against the background of the June 20 developments, “it is unjustified and illogical” that the State Inspector cannot investigate the crimes committed by the Interior Minister and the Head of State Security Service, “who hold most powers and therefore, risks of abuse of power and exerting influence on investigation are high.”
  • The CSOs also note that the Prosecutor’s Office maintains the right to carry out criminal prosecution that “significantly weakens the operational independence” of the State Inspector Service. According to the statement, the State Inspector Service should carry out an investigation without prosecutor oversight.
  • The Coalition calls for expanding the list of crimes which will be investigated by the State Inspector Service.
The Prosecutor’s Office announced on June 24 that it launched investigation into charges of exceeding limits of authority by the police against some participants during the June 20-21 rally. The Interior Ministry announced later that ten law enforcers, who took part in the clash on Rustaveli Avenue, have been suspended from their official duties pending inquest.

The Georgian Public Defender’s Office said on July 2 that it has launched monitoring of the criminal case concerning alleged excess use of force by police officers during the dispersal of the June 20-21 protest rally outside the Parliament building in Tbilisi.

For more follow our tag on Tbilisi protests.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)