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Public Defender’s Statement on Bill on Covert Investigative Actions

13.02.2017

 
Ombudsman.ge

The Public Defender of Georgia is negatively assessing the bill on covert investigative actions initiated in the Parliament of Georgia and believes that the fact that the so-called "key" will still belong to the State Security Service, on the one hand, will not ensure execution of the Constitutional Court’s decision of April 14, 2016, and on the other hand, will not eliminate public district with regard to the illegal wiretapping.

The bill offers creation of an operative-technical agency (LEPL) for carrying out investigative actions, which will be under the control the State Security Service. Although the agency will have some elements of independence due to its organizational-legal form, these scarce elements may turn into a formality under the strong control of the State Security Service and almost nothing might be changed in the institutional model of implementation of covert investigative actions.

The rule of election of the agency chief raises suspicions, as it does not provide the real independence of the agency. In particular, according to the proposed bill, the candidate for the agency chief is selected by a special commission, but the commission's mandate is limited. It should be noted that the Head of the State Security Service submits three pre-selected candidates to the commission, though the selection process or criteria are not defined by the bill. Accordingly, according to the offered model, the special commission’s power in the selection process will be limited, which makes the importance of the composition of the commission senseless.

By the Public Defender's opinion, taking into view the difficult experience of the so-called secret wiretapping in the past, the Parliament of Georgia has an important role and responsibility to develop a model that would provide protection from unjustified interference with private life and help restoration of public confidence in the process.

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