The Statement of Londa Toloraia, State Inspector on the Abolition of the State Inspector’s Service2021-12-30 21:19:08
I would like to inform you that the Parliament of Georgia adopted the law on the abolition of the State Inspector’s Service.
With the adoption of the law, the main purpose – to dismiss the State Inspector appointed by the Parliament for 6 years in 2019 and her deputies, was achieved.
The law was passed in the name of approximation to European standards, while this law, the form and methods of its adoption, have nothing in common with the European values. The law was passed in the name of the European values, while the EU, the CoE High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN, the representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, Members of the European Parliament, the US Ambassador demanded that adoption of the law be paused. All of them pointed out that abolition of the independent state institute in such an expedited and non-transparent manner was unacceptable and the adoption of this law should have been based on broad, open and in-depth discussions, including first of all with the participation of the State Inspector's Service. The reform had to be carried out carefully and such a chilling effect on officials had to be avoided. They also pointed out that this process threatens democracy in Georgia and undermines the independent functioning of the Service.
In addition, the law was adopted in the name of the recommendation issued by the non-governmental sector in 2018 made prior to the establishment of the State Inspector’s Service, in the name of the recommendation that was submitted to the Ministry of Justice and the Parliament of Georgia when establishing the Service, but it was not taken into account back then.
The law was adopted in the name of the recommendation made many years ago by non-governmental organizations that positively assess the work of the Service today and note that the process of monitoring the work of the Service did not reveal any problems related to the risk of a conflict between these two functions. In parallel to this, the Parliament of Georgia in the process of making this decision ignored all the recommendations issued by international organizations and the non-governmental sector following the establishment of the Service. These recommendations actually served to strengthen the Service and its institutional development.
The law was passed in the name of raising personal data protection standards, in 4 days, while the draft law on Personal Data Protection which is in line with European standards has been on the shelf in the Parliament for over two years and none of its provisions have been transposed in this new law.
The law was passed in the name of strengthening the investigative agency in charge of official misconduct, while the new investigative service has not additionally been empowered with any effective mechanisms to investigate official misconduct. The law did not take into account any of the challenges being indicated as impeding circumstances mentioned by the State Inspector in their reports.
The law was passed on the grounds of incompatibility of investigative and personal data protection functions, however, no one asked the Service whether these two functions were compatible with each other and what were the challenges the Service faced in carrying out these two functions. The Parliament was unable to name a single specific example when the coexistence of these two functions within one institution created a problem in practice.
The Parliament of Georgia has taken an unprecedented decision and has abolished an elected position prematurely.
Fortunately, after the 3-days resistance/opposition from an international community, non-governmental sector and ourselves, the Parliament of Georgia has changed its attitude towards the staff of the Service and decided to redistribute them in two newly established entities. However, this could not affect the final result- an independent state institution has stopped existence. I don’t think that after such message any public official will be able to operate independently and take an independent decision. Obviously, this is an extremely dangerous for human rights as well as for an effective functioning of the independent institutions.
According to the newly adopted Law, me and my deputies were dismissed. This, once again, proves that an independent authority together with its independent management was unacceptable for them. With this decision, we have once again observed that impartial and lawful assessments/findings are unacceptable.
Yesterday, one of the leader of the parliamentary majority mentioned that with this new Law two anti-constitutional entities were established. In other words, besides the fact that the Parliament has clearly confessed adoption of anti-constitutional Law which is already nonsense, it has in fact announced the abolition of these new two entities and conveyed a very clear message to their future management that in case they act independently, their dismissal will not be a problem at all.
Unfortunately, none of the answers to my questions posed at the Committee meeting were reasoned. My questions were the following: 1) why they did not involve us in this so-called reform; 2) why the process went in an expedited manner; 3) why the head of the entity appointed for a 6-year term could not lead the reformed entity; 4) how these two directions strengthen after the division; 5) which European country implements reforms in such a manner. Instead of asking me at the Committee meeting what challenges the Service had and what my opinion on the draft Law was, the only concern of the Parliament was the source of getting the draft Law abolishing the Service and annulling the position. That is, where did the head of the agency get the bill that the parliament was obliged to send by law.
I remind the members of the Parliament who supported this decision today - supervisory authorities are not formed for an unconditional obedience to every decision of the Government. Developed countries establish supervisory authorities in order to let them respond to the infringements/violations of human rights by the state authorities.
Contrary to this:
- The Parliament of Georgia undermined the independent agency which has never agreed its decisions with anyone and acted only in accordance with the law;
- Today you abolished the agency of citizens of Georgia which boldly charged public bodies for unlawful interference in their private life and use of personal data;
- Today you abolished the agency, which was the first to respond to the release of covert recordings and stated that this fact must not be left without response;
- Today you abolished the agency of citizens of Georgia which made every effort with limited legislative, human and financial resources to investigate facts of violence by representatives of law enforcement agencies;
- Today you abolished the agency of citizens of Georgia which had to fight constantly in order to somehow punish violent civil servants who had committed crimes;
- Today you abolished the agency of this country which dared to say loudly that it had been confronted with problems and obstacles in the process of obtaining evidence and was not provided with evidence – documents, video recordings needed to punish violent civil servants;
- Today you abolished the agency of this country which actually stood on the European path and had been introducing new, European standards;
- Today you abolished the agency which managed to gain unprecedented public trust and support in 2 years and you saw this clearly during the last 3 days;
- Today you abolished the agency which dared to boldly express its critical opinions concerning prepared legislative amendments while these reforms were pretentious;
- Today you made the step which has nothing in common with a reform;
- Today you made the step which has nothing in common with protecting human rights;
- Today you decided to dismiss the State Inspector and her three Deputies, who managed to create an independent state agency despite all the obstacles.
I would like to thank the international community, Diplomatic Corps, non-governmental sector, Members of the Parliament, public, students, representatives of ethnic and religious minorities for their unprecedented support we have been observing for the last 3 days.
I would like to thank my colleagues for their conscientious and dignified work.
I would like to thank my Deputies: Giorgi Gamezardashvili, Sophio Jiadze and Salome Bakhsoliani for creating this agency and for their worthy and bold decisions.
The word of the President is important now. I would like to thank her for expressed support. I do hope she will veto this law.
This legal fight has not been finished!
I would like to wish you living in a country oriented on human rights!