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Public Defender Nino Lomjaria criticizes Ombudsman selection method initiated by Georgian Dream

By Liza Mchedlidze
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Public Defender Nino Lomjaria assessed the draft law on the temporary rules for the election of the Public Defender, initiated by the "Georgian Dream", which the Parliament is rapidly working on.

As the Public Defender notes, the term of office of the current Public Defender expires on December 8, 2022. The request of the European Union before giving Georgia the status of a candidate country of the European Union requires, among other things, to give preference to an independent person in the nomination of the public defender, to conduct the process transparently and to ensure the effective institutional independence of the office. According to the explanatory card, the presented bill serves the purpose of fulfilling this recommendation.

"Unfortunately, the text of the draft law and the time of the committee hearing were not known to the publicly interested persons in advance, for a reasonable period of time. Without the aforementioned preconditions, it is impossible to talk about creating the possibility of civil society involvement and the inclusive process, which, according to the Public Defender's assessment, must be taken into account during the discussion of this important issue," the statement reads.

The statement on the contents of the draft law states that none of the international standards or documents mentioned in the explanatory note speaks of the temporary introduction of public defender selection procedures, but indicates the need to firmly define them at the legislative level.

"Also, according to the presented project, the regulation of the main issues related to the election of the public defender is envisaged by the chairman of the parliament alone, in the form of an order, which excludes a high degree of transparency and involvement. If the current version of the draft law is supported, the chairman of the parliament will also be given the opportunity to define the circle of subjects presenting the candidate differently from the law, which raises questions both from the point of view of the rule of law and legislative technique. It is better to regulate important procedural issues and guarantees by the law, and by the order of the Speaker of the Parliament, procedural details of relatively minor importance should be determined", the Public Defender said.

The Public Defender expresses hope that the Parliament of Georgia will take into account the mentioned opinions and standards in the process of reviewing the draft law, and an impartial, objective and highly qualified candidate for the Public Defender will be selected based on them and in accordance with the best standards.