Council of Europe anti-corruption body GRECO says Georgia has implemented 7 out of 16 recommendations on preventing corruption among MPs, judges and prosecutors

Published in Justice
Monday, 12 April 2021 15:57

Strasbourg, 12.04.2021 – Over the past two years, Georgia has implemented two more recommendations issued by GRECO in 2016, on the prevention of corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors, said the Council of Europe anti-corruption group GRECO in a new compliance report published today. All in all, seven out of 16 recommendations have been implemented satisfactorily or dealt with in a satisfactory manner, another seven have been partly implemented and two have still not been implemented. (See French version of the report)

Today’s report is already a second one analysing the implementation of the 2016 recommendations. The first such report published in 2019 concluded that five recommendations had been implemented, and the remaining 11 were still outstanding. These outstanding recommendations are the subject of the report published today.

With respect to members of Parliament, the regulations on transparency of the legislative process on the side of the parliament have been greatly enhanced, with a more visible publication of draft legislation, amendments thereto and information on the work of committees, but rules should also be adopted to allow for meaningful consultations to take place. Furthermore, training of MPs on the Code of Conduct has taken place, but further practical measures for the implementation of the Code (such as confidential counselling and monitoring) still have to become fully operational. The implementation of these measures has to some extent been hampered by political developments following the 2020 parliamentary elections. Finally, a clear requirement or rules are still required for MPs to declare conflicts of interest when they occur (ad hoc).

As far as judges are concerned, changes to the legislation on the recruitment of judges have improved the criteria on which decisions on recruitment are to be based, as well as the reasoning and the possibility of review of such decisions. It is noted, however, as demonstrated by the appointment process to the Supreme Court, that apparent good intentions on paper are still too easily trumped by other considerations. GRECO therefore urges the authorities to take further measures to enhance public trust in the recruitment processes of judges, be it to the Supreme Court or common courts, in particular in respect of the decision-making of the High Council of Justice. That said, positive steps have been taken as regards disciplinary proceedings (even if some remaining amendments would still need to be made to fully implement the recommendation in question), in particular by more clearly defining disciplinary offences, and in developing an update of the Rules of Judicial Ethics, which is, however, still to be adopted. Finally, as regards judges, GRECO regrets that the limitation of the broad immunity of judges is still under consideration and concludes that its recommendation that the immunity of judges be limited to activities relating to their participation in judicial decision-making (”functional immunity”) remains not implemented.

Regarding prosecutors, positive measures have been taken for the practical implementation of the Code of Ethics and welcome improvements have been made to the rules on the recruitment and promotion of prosecutors. GRECO concluded that two of its recommendations in these areas have been implemented. However, in spite of improvements made to the disciplinary regime applicable to prosecutors, further amendments are clearly necessary, in particular by defining sanctionable conduct more precisely. GRECO also concluded that its recommendation on widening the scope of application of the asset declaration regime under the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption to cover all prosecutors, remains not implemented.

GRECO asks the Head of delegation of Georgia to submit additional information on the nine outstanding recommendations by 31 March 2022 at the latest.

GRECO and Georgia

* * *

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. Currently it comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the United States of America.

Georgia should continue reforms to prevent corruption, says new report

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 15:20

In a report published today, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body, Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), acknowledged considerable progress in reducing corruption in Georgia and improving the country’s standing in international indices, and called on the Georgian authorities to continue implementing  the reforms aimed at preventing corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors.
Among the positive developments noted by GRECO is the introduction of a monitoring mechanism for submitting asset declarations by public officials including parliamentarians, judges and high-level prosecutors.  It is crucial now that the new rules be extended to cover all prosecutors, that they are effectively applied in practice and kept under constant review.
GRECO noted measures taken to prevent corruption among the members of parliament and increase accountability of their work, and recommends further enhancing transparency of the legislative process through the publication of all draft legislation, and developing an enforceable code of ethics/conduct. It also called for mandatory disclosure of parliamentarians’ conflicts of interest, in order to monitor and determine when and how personal interests of MPs might influence the decision-making process.
GRECO stressed the need to carry on with the important reform of the judiciary. It is of prime importance that the bill on the third stage of reform which is pending before the Parliament should now be adopted and implemented. GRECO recommends reforming the recruitment, promotion and transfer of judges, introducing an objective and transparent system for the allocation of cases (e.g. via random assisgnment), defining more precisely disciplinary offences, and limiting immunity of judges to activities related to their participation in judicial decision-making (”functional immunity”).

 

Georgia: no tangible progress achieved in implementation of recommendations on transparency of political party funding, GRECO says

Published in World
Friday, 02 December 2016 18:14

Today, the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) published a new report on how Georgia has been following up on its recommendations on ensuring transparency of party funding.

The initial set of recommendations was given to Georgia back in 2011. They concerned incriminations (criminalization of corruption offences) and transparency of political funding. In 2013 and in 2015 GRECO already issued reports about the compliance of Georgia with these recommendations, and concluded that all of its recommendations on criminalization of corruption has been satisfactorily implemented, but seven recommendations on political funding had been implemented only partially.

In the report published today, GRECO concludes that no tangible progress has been achieved by Georgia as regards the implementation of the outstanding recommendations on political party funding. The pending seven recommendations remain partly implemented.

Therefore, the third evaluation round focusing on incriminations and the transparency of party funding in Georgia continues. GRECO asked the Georgian authorities to submit the information about addressing the outstanding recommendations on party funding by the 30th of September 2017.

However, GRECO has already started the next evaluation round for Georgia that focuses on preventing corruption among members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. A GRECO report evaluating the current situation in this field and providing a set of recommendations to Georgian authorities is to be published on 12 December 2016.

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