DRI: Mechanisms for exerting illegal influence on police officers, military servicemen and State Security Service employees are expanding
According to the draft law submitted by the ruling political team[1] to the Parliament of Georgia, it is becoming possible to transfer police officers, military servicemen and State Security Service employees to equal positions with similar functions in other geographical areas, with or without their consent.[2] After the expiration of the transfer period, if it is impossible to return the person to the original position and if he/she refuses the offered position, he/she will be dismissed.

This draft law was preceded by the accelerated amendments to the Law of Georgia on Common Courts at the end of 2021, which made it possible to transfer judges to other courts without their consent.[3] During consideration of the bill, 14 judges addressed the Parliament of Georgia with an open letter, urging the legislative body not to return the time when "disobedient" judges used to be punished by a similar mechanism.[4]

The submitted draft law leaves no choice for the public servant. An authorized official may transfer an employee to another territorial unit regardless of whether the person to be transferred agrees to do so. According to the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the stability of the civil service is a necessary condition for the independence of state officials. Changing the workplace without the employee’s consent is tantamount to changing the working conditions for the employee. The work specifics of police officers, military servicemen and State Security Service employees are different, which is why their working conditions are regulated differently by law. However, the work specifics cannot be considered a justifying circumstance for transferring an employee to a new workplace without justification, for an indefinite period of time, without considering the employee's opinion and social needs.

According to the draft law, a police officer, a military serviceman and an employee of the State Security Service may be "transferred" to a similar position in another territorial unit for a period of 2 years. On the basis of the decision of the Minister of Defence (or a person with the relevant authority), this term may be extended indefinitely.

Given the above circumstances, it is clear that the draft law contains vague norms, which allow high-ranking officials to act uncontrollably and unjustifiably, and does not rule out the use of the norms for "punishment".

The Democracy Research Institute believes that the adoption of the draft law will undermine the principle of stability of the civil service, unjustifiably increase the power of the heads of the relevant agencies and make the labour guarantees of public servants extremely fragile.

[1] The initiators of the draft law are Anri Okhanashvili, Aluda Ghudushauri, Davit Matikashvili, Guram Macharashvili, Rati Ionatamishvili, Alexandre Tabatadze and Mikheil Sarjveladze.
[3] Law of Georgia on Common Courts, Article 37​1, Paragraph 2