DRI: State Security Service refuses to disclose the list of agencies where it has the so-called Odeers

The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) continues to monitor the activities of the State Security Service with the primary goal of promoting institutional reform of the Service and reducing the risk of abuse of office. In this regard, it is especially important to study the issue of appointment of permanent representatives (so-called Odeers) by the State Security Service to the agencies containing high risks to national security under Decree No. 584 of the Government of Georgia.[1]

On March 17, 2021, the Democracy Research Institute applied to the State Security Service to release public information about the list of agencies with which the Service has signed a cooperation agreement on the basis of Decree No. 584 of the Government of Georgia of November 18, 2015, which provides for the appointment of a permanent representative (so-called Odeer) by the Service to these agencies. Despite applying twice with one and the same request,[2] the State Security Service refused to provide public information.

According to the Democracy Research Institute, the refusal of the State Security Service to provide public information is legally unjustified and contradicts the rule of issuing public information under the Constitution of Georgia and the General Administrative Code. The requested information does not contain state, professional, commercial secrets or personal data. According to the Law of Georgia on the State Security Service, only the security regime established for high-risk entities represents a secret document, which has nothing to do with the information requested by the Democracy Research Institute.

The unreasonable refusal to provide public information by the agency, one of the main directions of which is the fight against corruption, is concerning. The recommendations of international organizations set a particularly high standard of accountability and publicity for an anti-corruption agency.[3]

Due to the fact that the refusal of the State Security Service to provide public information contradicts legislation of Georgia, the Democracy Research Institute, in accordance with the rules established by the General Administrative Code, addressed Grigol Liluashvili, Head of the agency, with an administrative complaint.

[1] On approval of the list of entities containing high risks to national security, Decree No. 584 of the Government of Georgia.

[2] DRI letters No. 20210317/112 of 17 March 2021 and No. 20210413/140 of 13 April 2021.

[3] United Nations Convention against Corruption, 2003, Article 10; Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia on Joining the UN Convention against Corruption