Establishment of an independent investigative mechanism to ensure an independent, impartial and efficient investigation of crimes committed by law enforcement officials was an important step forward. The need to create this mechanism has been emphasized for years by local and international organizations, as well as by the Public Defender's Office. The establishment of an independent investigative mechanism was also envisaged in the EU-Georgia Association Agenda 2017-2020.
This study is the first document that comprehensively and thoroughly assesses the existing independent investigative mechanism in Georgia. It reflects the analysis of the institutional and legal framework related to the investigative function of the State Inspector's Service, identifies existing challenges and shortcomings, reveals obstacles to the investigation process, and provides specific recommendations that will help improve the capacity of the State Inspector’s Service.
- The existing model of appointing the State Inspector does not include sufficient guarantees for avoiding political influence on the process and thus creates risks of taking politically motivated decisions.
- The number of investigators employed at the Investigative Division is particularly low compared to the number of cases, which constitutes one of the major challenges. The efficient operation of the State Inspector's Service is hindered by the lack of human, financial, and infrastructure resources.
- The investigative mandate of the State Inspector's Service is restricted by pre-determined subjects and it does not extend to the alleged crimes committed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Head of the State Security Services, and the General Prosecutor.
- The mandate of the Investigative Division does not extend to non-violent crimes committed by law-enforcement representatives, thus leaving the criminal cases of high public interest outside the scope of an independent investigative mechanism.
- Regardless of the institutional independence of the State Inspector's Service, the entity is not equipped with sufficient mechanisms for conducting independent investigations. Investigators are limited to conduct independent investigations on criminal cases and take decisions on important investigative measures.
- The Investigative Division is not entitled to access information kept in computer systems (video recordings) without the approval from the Prosecutor’s Office even when there is the threat of destroying evidence, which could serve as the main basis for investigating alleged crimes committed by law-enforcement representatives.
- It is advisable to elect the State Inspector with the 3/5 majority of the Parliament composition.
- To ensure the efficient operation of the State Inspector's Service, it is crucial to provide it with necessary human and material resources and establish additional structural units in the regions of Georgia.
- It is advisable to establish the pre-emptive jurisdiction of the State Inspector's Investigative Division for any offenses, which raise the risk of conflict of interest in the investigation process.
- Together with institutional independence, the State Inspector's Service should also be granted strong functional independence. This can be ensured through the timely and comprehensive implementation of the investigative reform initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The reform should establish strong legislative guarantees for conducting high-quality unbiased investigations, ensuring professional independence of the investigators as well as the distinction of and balance between prosecutorial and investigative mandates.
- Investigators of the State Inspector's Service should have the authority to take independent decisions on such issues as – implementing investigative measures restricting human rights, questioning of witnesses at the court, requesting information from state institutions, etc. This can be made possible through due implementation of the investigative system reform.
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