The Social Justice Center (SJC), a civil society organization, published its opinion on the implementation of the de-oligarchization recommendation issued by the European Commission for Georgia to obtain EU candidate status, and explained that “taking into account the contextual differences” between the countries, Georgia’s adoption of Ukraine’s anti-oligarchy law, “should not be considered a reasonable step.”
According to the SJC, both the Ukrainian and Georgian draft laws on de-oligarchization deserve “at minimum, legal criticism” for the vagueness of their definition of an oligarch.
“The vagueness of this term creates opportunities for unforeseeable and wrongful use of those restrictions which are provided by the legislation for a person recognized as an oligarch, and which may conflict with a number of basic rights,” the SJC stressed.
According to their assessment, the procedure following the declaration of an individual named as an oligarch is equally vague, with the accompanying disciplinary and political measures remaining unclear. In addition, the bill envisages the transfer of such powers to the political authorities, which limits the significant rights of a person recognized as an oligarch so that “there is no possibility of judicial control of this decision.”
- 05/10/2022 – Amb. Degnan Talks Attacks on CSOs, People Power, and De-oligarchization
- 20/09/2022 – Ambassador Herczynski on EU Recommendations, Deoligarchization, Anti-EU Narrative
“In conditions when there are no strong and independent democratic institutions in Georgia, the adoption of such a law creates a danger that such power will be used selectively by the political authorities as a sign of political loyalty,” the SJC noted.
The SJC believes that the “adoption of one specific law will bring about less systemic changes,” and asserted that for a real reduction of oligarchic influence “modern, systematic, and in-depth reforms are necessary.”
The organization added that reforms aimed at strengthening the state’s autonomy and institutions should be supported by civil society and those political elites, “who are ideologically ready to support the construction of good governance in the country.”
“[Because] unsystematic, time-consuming, and fragmented reforms, from the point of view of fighting oligarchic influences, do not bring great results. In addition, the occurrence of worse results cannot be ruled out by such reforms, if political, economic, and judicial systematic changes are not implemented,” they said.
The SJC noted the importance of a broad-based and inclusive agreement on increasing the effectiveness, accountability, and transparency of state institutions while emphasizing the need for effective deterrence and balancing mechanisms between institutions.
“Accordingly, it is much wiser to focus on systemic and in-depth reforms, the implementation of which will contribute to the transformation of oligarchs into regular economic players and, finally, the de-oligarchization of the state,” the SJC concluded.