On June 22, the Democracy Research Institute (DRI) held a working meeting and presented an Interim Report on the Importance of Parliamentary Control of the Security Sector and Related Challenges.
The report analyzes publicly available information, legislative framework and face-to-face interviews with Members of Parliament, and reviews the models of parliamentary oversight of the security sector.
In a representative democracy, parliamentary oversight is one of the most important tools for controlling and balancing power. Parliamentary oversight of the security sector is of particular importance, as due to the specifics of its activities, the latter tends to be formed as "a state in a state".
Although the new edition of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia, at first glance, increases the mechanisms of control over the security sector, there remain a number of legislative gaps, which leave the security sector beyond supervision. This is further complicated by the high degree of secrecy of the security sector.
The DRI report addresses issues related to the staffing of the trust group. Despite the relevant record in the Rules of Procedure, today there are four instead of five members in the trust group, the majority of which (3) are members of the ruling party. In the absence of a legislative obligation, the activities of the trust group are non-transparent. Even the agenda of the group meetings is hidden from the public.
The DRI report also reviews the 2021 activity report of the State Security Service, which is extremely general and formal, failing to provide MPs with a realistic picture of the activities of the Service and the amount of information that the latter needs for parliamentary oversight.
As a positive trend, it should be noted that the dynamics of the use of the mechanism of sending questions in writing by MPs has increased compared to previous years. In addition, unlike previous years, members of the parliamentary majority have become more active from 2021. However, it is obvious that the addressees of questions often use different approaches depending on who the author of the question is: the accountable bodies do not answer or give incomplete and vague answers to questions asked mainly by the parliamentary opposition.
The report is available only in Georgian