On 13 July 2022, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published the addendum to the Fourth Evaluation Round second compliance report for Georgia, which evaluates the progress made in implementing the outstanding recommendations since the second compliance report. According to the assessment, eight out of the 16 recommendations issued by GRECO to Georgia are still unimplemented.
In the Fourth Evaluation Round, GRECO examined whether the corruption prevention legislation and practice were in compliance with the CoE standards in three different areas: the Parliament, the Judiciary and the Prosecution Service. To prevent corruption in these areas, in 2016, GRECO issued 16 recommendations (three for the Parliament, six for the Judiciary, six for the Prosecution Service, and one regarding all categories) to Georgia to be implemented within two years. According to the first compliance report published in 2019, Georgia had implemented satisfactorily only five of them, three recommendations had not been implemented and eight recommendations had been partly implemented. According to GRECO procedures, Georgian Government had to take additional measures within the next 18 months to fully implement the recommendations. However, even after the expiry of the mentioned period, the progress of implementation of the recommendations was still very law. According to the second compliance report, the situation had been improved only slightly. Out of 11 recommendations to be implemented for prevention of corruption, Georgian authorities managed to fully implement only two recommendations within 18 months – by 2021, out of the 16 recommendations, Georgia had fully implemented seven recommendations, seven had been partly implemented and two had remained unimplemented. Regarding these nine unimplemented recommendations Georgia was given a deadline till June 2022 to submit additional information.
According to the addendum to the second compliance report published on 13 July 2022, over the last year, no tangible progress has been made towards the implementation of recommendations. Out of the nine unimplemented recommendations, only one has been considered fully implemented by GRECO, while half of the recommendations remain unimplemented (six – partly implemented, two – unimplemented).
Out of the nine recommendations to be implemented:
- Three recommendations were related to the Parliament and required it to ensure the transparency of the legislative process (i); to adopt a code of ethics for the Member of Parliament and to ensure its enforcement (ii), and to adequately regulate the issue of conflicts of interest (iii). Out of the three recommendations elaborated for the Parliament, none of them has been considered by GRECO to be fully implemented.
- Four recommendations were related to the Judiciary and called for reforming the procedures for the appointment and promotion of judges (iv), updating and implementing judicial norms on ethics in practice (vii), clearly defining the grounds of disciplinary liability of judges and refining the procedures (viii), and limiting the immunity of judges (ix). Despite small positive steps, there has been no progress detected in implementing these four recommendations. Three recommendations (iv, vii, viii) have been considered by GRECO to be partly implemented, and one (ix) – unimplemented.
- Two recommendations were related to the Prosecution Service, indicating to bind all prosecutors by the requirements of the norms regulating assets declarations (xiv), as well as to improve the norms of disciplinary liability and to ensure the proportionality of sanctions (xv). Progress made in terms of disciplinary liability has been considered by GRECO to be satisfactory, and the recommendation related to asset declarations remain unimplemented.
The low progress in Georgia’s implementation of GRECO recommendations clearly indicates a transition to a passive phase in the fight against corruption in the country. Out of the nine recommendations to be implemented for prevention of corruption, the country managed to fully implement only one recommendation within a year, while the remaining eight recommendations are still to be implemented.
The existing practice indicates that effective Anti-Corruption policy is no longer a priority in the country. Georgia deteriorates its own Anti-Corruption indexes and moves back in international rankings. It is noteworthy that in addition to GRECO assessment, the latest OECD report as well shows the need for taking appropriate Anti-Corruption measures. Within the opinion on Georgia's application for membership of the European Union, the European Commission also indicates that more needs to be done to strengthen the Anti-Corruption processes and their effectiveness.
Considering the assessments of international organizations it is even more alarming that in recent years the Georgian Government has stalled the implementation of Anti-Corruption reforms. The Interagency Anti-Corruption Coordination Council, which is responsible for determining, monitoring, and assessing the country’s Anti-Corruption policy, as well as for fulfilling international recommendations, has not met for the last several years, and the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council only formally exists. The new national Anti-Corruption strategy and action plan, which was supposed to define the measures to be implemented by the agencies in 2021-2022, has not yet been developed in the third quarter of 2022, which further hinders the effective implementation of the Anti-Corruption policy.
To overcome the existing challenges, it is crucial that Georgia adheres to the recommendations of both local organizations and international Anti-Corruption institutions. IDFI once again calls on authorities to acknowledge the existing challenges addressing of which is critical for successful implementation of reforms, take all necessary measures for implementing GRECO recommendations, and renew the implementation of Anti-Corruption reforms.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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