Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body said in its new evaluation report that in respect to anti-corruption procedures pertaining to corruption prevention among MPs, judges and prosecutors, since 2016 Georgia “has implemented satisfactorily five of the sixteen recommendations, and of the remaining recommendations, eight have been partly implemented and three have not been implemented.”
The Compliance Report assesses the measures taken by the authorities of Georgia to implement the recommendations issued in the Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Georgia, adopted in 2016, dealing with corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.
According to GRECO, “some positive developments have taken place regarding the prevention of corruption in respect of members of parliament, with various measures taken to further enhance the transparency of the legislative process and the adoption of a code of ethics for members of parliament.”
However, further clear rules on a public consultation procedure for draft legislation, an enforcement mechanism of the code of ethics for members of parliament, practical measures for implementation of the aforementioned code as well as more comprehensive rules on ad hoc disclosure of conflicts of interest of Members of Parliament, are still to be developed,” it said.
In respect of judges, it said the third wave of judicial reform “has brought certain amendments to the Law on Courts, providing for clearer criteria for the selection of judicial candidates for the three-year probation period.
According to the report, further safeguards have been introduced against possible misuse of the transfer of judges to another court without their consent; a mechanism introduced for the random assignment of cases; the establishment of an Independent Inspector – which should make a more in-depth examination of complaints against judges possible – and the abolishing of the authority of the secretary of the High Judicial Council to single-handedly end disciplinary proceedings.
More is required, in particular, in establishing clear and objective criteria for the promotion of judges, updating the Norms of Judicial Ethics (accompanied by practical measures for its implementation), taking measures to increase the effectiveness of disciplinary proceedings (inter alia by defining disciplinary offences more clearly) and limiting the immunity of judges to “functional immunity”, according to GRECO.
Regarding prosecutors, GRECO “is pleased that further measures have been taken to reduce the influence of the government and/or parliamentary majority on the appointment of the Chief Prosecutor and the Prosecutorial Council and that criteria have been introduced for the assignment and withdrawal of cases to/from prosecutors.”
As a final point, GRECO welcomes the work that has been carried out to improve the Law on Conflicts of Interest and Corruption in Public Institutions. The various measures contained therein should allow for a more effective monitoring of asset declarations of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors,” the report said.
GRECO notes that “tangible progress has been made in respect of all themes. However, the Georgian authorities will have to submit GRECO with information regarding the implementation of these recommendations by September 30, 2020.