DRI recommendations relating to the strengthening of parliamentary oversight of the security sector
The Democracy Research Institute addressed the Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia with recommendations to strengthen the parliamentary supervision over the security sector.
The strengthening of the parliamentary control, accountability of the law enforcement agencies and their supervision are necessary conditions for Georgia to receive candidate status. For the purpose of supporting the process of implementation of the recommendations of the European Commission, the Democracy Research Institute was involved in the working group created by the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee. The group considered one of the recommendations of the Democracy Research Institute, according to which the submission of the annual report of the State Security Service to the Parliament should be the sole responsibility of the Head of the Security Service. However, other recommendations related to the strengthening of the supervision of the security sector have not been considered on the grounds that the relevant working group would be created in the Defense and Security Committee. Due to the artificial barriers encountered by non-governmental organizations in terms of participation in the working groups, the Democracy Research Institute was not able to participate in the work of the said group.
As a result of several years of work, the Democracy Research Institute has developed a package of recommendations for the strengthening of parliamentary supervision, most of which concern the Trust Group.
Although the new Rules and Procedures have strengthened the mandate of the Trust Group, observation shows that the parliamentary oversight of security institutions is flawed. Among the legislative gaps are the broad opportunity given to the security sector agencies - to avoid accountability to the Parliament; as well as problems related to the composition of the Trust Group, its staffing, non-transparency of the activities, etc.
The Democracy Research Institute recommends that the Trust Group be abolished and its powers be transferred to the Defense and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.
Prior to the abolition of the Trust Group, the Democracy Research Institute recommends the following:
- In order to ensure the accountability of the Trust Group and transparency of its activities, the Rules and Procedures of the Parliament of Georgia should reflect the obligation of the Trust Group to submit an activity report to the Parliament of Georgia every year or twice a year.
- The part of the Rules and Procedures, which determines the composition of the Trust Group, should be edited so that to allow the nomination of a member of the Trust Group not only by one opposition faction, but by political groups/faction/factions of the parliamentary opposition.
- Meetings of the Trust Group should be held at least once a month. Any member of the Trust Group should have the right to call a meeting, which will give the parliamentary opposition the opportunity to exercise parliamentary supervision over the security sector independently of the ruling party.
- The current edition of the Rules and Procedures does not allow the members of the Trust Group to visit the accountable institutions without informing the head of the institution. The above gives the agency the opportunity to "properly prepare" for the visit. The visits of the Trust Group to the relevant agencies should be carried out without informing the agencies in advance.
- The agencies should only be able to refuse to provide information about the hidden forms and methods of their activities to the Trust Group.
The Democracy Research Institute also considers that the part of the Rules and Procedures, which establishes a different procedure for summoning the Head of the State Security Service to the committee session, should be abolished.