On 12 April 2021, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published the Fourth Evaluation Round second compliance report for Georgia, where it assesses the country’s compliance with the recommendations issued in 2016. The report provides recommendations for corruption prevention in three directions: the Parliament, the Judiciary and the Prosecution Service - 16 recommendations in total. Under the GRECO procedures, the Government of Georgia had to implement the recommendations within the next two years (until 2019). In early 2019, GRECO, in the first Compliance Report, assessed the implementation of the recommendations issued in 2016 and published the document on its official website on July 2. According to the report, out of 16 Recommendations on corruption prevention, Georgia had implemented satisfactorily only five of them, three recommendations had not been implemented and eight recommendations – partly implemented. According to GRECO procedures, the Georgian government should take additional measures within the next 18 months to fully implement the recommendations. IDFI has been highlighting the issues covered by the GRECO recommendations on various platforms for a long time, be it the Interagency Anti-Corruption Council, the Open Government Forum, the Public Administration Reform Council or others. IDFI called on the Georgian authorities to cooperate more actively with civil society and to take all necessary measures to implement the GRECO recommendations.
Progress of implementation of GRECO recommendations has improved only slightly since 2019: six recommendations have been fully implemented and 11 recommendations are partially implemented or unimplemented.
Three of the 11 recommendations to be implemented are with regards the Parliament and required it to ensure the transparency of the legislative process; to adopt a code of ethics for the Member of Parliament and to ensure its enforcement; and to adequately regulate the issue of conflicts of interest. Out of the three recommendations adopted for Parliament, GRECO did not consider any of them fully implemented.
From the other eight recommendations to be implemented, four were related to the prevention of corruption in the judiciary, of which one was unimplemented by 2019 and three were partially implemented. Regarding Judiciary, GRECO recommendations refer to the issues to be dealt with by the Georgian authorities, which IDFI has been talking about for a long time: the obscurity of the judicial promotion process; the need for renewal and adoption of judicial norms on ethics; the need for a clear definition of the grounds of disciplinary liability of judges and elaboration of clear disciplinary procedures; etc.Since 2019, no progress has been made in implementing any of the GRECO recommendations for the prevention of corruption in the judiciary. IDFI will continue to actively monitor judicial reforms in order to ensure the full implementation of GRECO recommendations within the reform.
The remaining four recommendations to be implemented in the fourth round of the GRECO evaluation were to prevent corruption in the prosecution system. In particular: binding all prosecutors by the requirements of the norms regulating assets declarations; adoption of clear provisions of disciplinary liability and ensuring the proportionality of sanctions; cleat and transparent regulation of appointment and promotion of prosecutors and limit the large discretionary powers given to the General Prosecutor; adoption and implementation of the Code of Ethics of the Prosecution Service. IDFI focused on these issues in the process of monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan of the Prosecutor's Office and has submitted the relevant findings and recommendations to the Prosecutor's Office in the monitoring report. Progress from these GRECO recommendations were made on the appointment and promotion of prosecutors and the implementation of ethical standards in practice and these two recommendations have been considered to be implemented. Of the other two recommendations, the recommendation on disciplinary proceedings is partially implemented, while the recommendation on assets declarations is still unimplemented.
The low progress in implementing the GRECO recommendations clearly indicates a transition to a passive phase in the fight against corruption in the country. Out of 11 recommendations to be implemented for prevention of corruption, the country managed to fully implement only two recommendations within 18 months, while the remaining nine recommendations are still to be implemented. The need to take action against corruption is also evidenced by the fact that in 2020, most of the international rankings indicate a deterioration of the corruption situation in the country, one of the reasons for which is high levels of corruption. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, the Georgian government has not yet adopted a new Anti-Corruption Action Plan for 2021-2022.
IDFI is concerned about the government's inactivity against corruption and calls on the Government of Georgia to ensure in a timely manner:
1. Full implementation of the fourth round of GRECO recommendations for the prevention of corruption;
2. Adoption of an effective and ambitious National Anti-Corruption Action Plan;
3. Implementing special measures against high-level corruption, including in terms of strengthening the whistle-blower mechanism.
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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