With 82 votes against 21, the Parliament of Georgia chose at its plenary session Londa Toloraia, 34, as the Head of the country’s newly established Service of State Inspector, an independent investigative agency for crimes committed by law enforcement officers and public officials. She will hold that position for a six-year term.
The new agency, which supersedes the Office of Personal Data Protection Inspector from July, 2019, will have investigative functions as well as to oversee personal data protection. It will also be mandated to look into covert investigative actions of the law enforcement agencies.
Toloraia served as director of the Human Rights Department of Interior Ministry since February, 2018. She held various positions at the Prosecutor’s Office for the last nine years, and in charge of coordinating the juvenile justice element at the prosecutor-general’s office since 2010.
Opposition, NGO Criticism
During the hearing, some opposition MPs questioned Toloraia’s ability to impartially investigate former colleagues. MP Giorgi Tugushi, of European Georgia asked whether “as one of the high-ranking Ministry of Interior official, head of an important department and someone that is close to the Minister,” she would find it difficult to impartially investigate former colleagues, if need be.
MP Roman Gotsiridze (United National Movement) questioned in principle the “recent trend” of appointments of the Ministry of Interior cadre to key positions, deeming it a symptom of transition to the “police state”.
Former Georgian Dream MP, currently independent Levan Gogichaishvili questioned the integrity of “Adeishvili’s favorite prosecutor” – indicating linkage with former Justice Minister, Zurab Adeishvili, one of the more influential ministers in Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration.
NGOs have raised some questions, too. On 10 June, the Coalition for Independent and Free Judiciary, pointed to the procedural violations in the selection process. They stressed, that only one of the two candidates was satisfying minimal requirements for the job. NGOs consider, that in absence of meaningful competition between the candidates, the selection process should have been re-run.