NGOs Call on President Zourabichvili to Veto Bill on Abolition of State Inspector’s Office
By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, January 6, 2022
NGOs are calling on Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili to veto a bill adopted by the parliament on December 30 regarding abolishing the State Inspector’s Office in its current form. According to the NGOs, despite the severe criticism by local civil society organizations and Georgia's partner states, the ruling party, without any justification or involvement of the relevant actors and the State Inspector Service itself, made an “unconstitutional decision that is extremely damaging to Georgian democracy”.
The NGOs positively assessed the President’s statement that it is unacceptable to initiate and expedite a decision on the abolition of an independent state institution without preliminary consultation. President Zourabichvili called on the legislative body on December 27 to refrain from adopting the draft law stating that during a difficult polarization situation in the country, making such decisions is detrimental to the depolarization process.
The signatory organizations call on the President of Georgia to exercise her constitutional authority and veto the relevant legislative changes and return the draft legislative amendments to the Parliament with motivated remarks.
The State Inspector’s Service, which will be replaced with two new agencies in March 2022, was mandated to investigate alleged offenses committed by state officials and law enforcement agencies. Many foreign diplomats, NGOs, and the opposition members have called on the ruling party to halt the process, however, Georgian Dream representatives claim that splitting the State Inspector’s Service into two new agencies will strengthen the body and add functions to it, noting that the authority of the State Inspector’s Service ‘has been broadly expanded.’
The signatory NGOs are Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF); Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA); Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia); Social Justice Centre; Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD); International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED); Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC); Partnership for Human Rights (PHR); Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI); Rehabilitation Initiative for Vulnerable Groups (RIVG); Democracy Research Institute (DRI); Human Rights Centre (HRC); The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Media Development Fund (MDF); Georgian Court Watchman (GCW); and Safari.