On July 31, the Democracy Research Institute held the presentation of the research “the State Security Service - Duplication of Competences and Parallel Investigative Systems in Georgia”.
The purpose of the research was to identify gaps in the activities of the State Security Service of Georgia and detect shortcomings in the existing legislation.
As a rule, security services operate based on a high degree of confidentiality that makes democratic control/oversight over their activities more difficult and opens room for arbitrariness. Therefore, given the specific nature of state security services, it is believed that they ought to limit their operations strictly to the protection of national security interests and should not engage in unrelated activities.
DRI believes, that some of the functions of the State Security Service of Georgia, such as fight against corruption, is incompatible with the declared aim of protection of national security. However, as the official statistics shows, the bulk of the work is carried out by the Anti-Corruption Agency (department) of the State Security Service. In particular, from 1 August 2015 to 1 November 2019, the State Security Service instituted investigation in 425 criminal cases, among them: 1) The Counter Terrorism Centre (department) – 49 cases; 2) The Anti-Corruption Agency – 291 cases; 3) The Counterintelligence Department – 63 cases; 4) The State Security Department – 15 cases; 5) The General Inspection of the State Security Service – 7 cases.
The research also discusses duplication of competences of investigative structures and problems related to the functioning of parallel investigative systems.
In many cases, when the State Security Service detects a case which contains elements of a crime, they automatically start investigation. Accordingly, it could be a case that the Security Service, the Prosecutor’s Office or any other investigative structure will start investigation in one and the same case, depending which of the structure detected a case containing signs of crime first. Existence of parallel investigative systems increases the risk of duplication of competences, unreasonable distribution of resources and abuse of authority on the part of the State Security Service.
In order to prevent abuse of authority and human rights violations, it’s advisable, that the competences of the State Security Service is clearly and thoroughly regulated by the legislation. Accordingly, the authority granted for a specific purpose of protection of national security should be used only for this end.
 Martin Scheinin (UN Special Rapporteur), Compilation of good practices on legal and institutional frameworks and measures that ensure respect for human rights by intelligence agencies while countering terrorism, including on their oversight, 2010, p. 5.
The research “the State Security Service - Duplication of Competences and Parallel Investigative Systems in Georgia”.