Ministry of Interior reforms do not address undemocratic practice of planting security officers
On June 12, 2015, the Parliament of Georgia discussed a draft law that envisages separation of the Security Service from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its formation as a separate agency. The draft law is due to be put to vote next week.
The Security Service is will be authorized to appoint security officers (known by the Russian acronym ODR – “ОДР” – офицер действующего резерва; lit. Active Reserve Officers) in various institutions of public significance. The draft law was developed to improve the transparency and accountability of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, the authors and the government lack the political will to abandon the undemocratic practice of planting security officers in important institutions.
ODRs originated in the Soviet Union and the practice is only found in some post-Soviet countries today. Starting from last year, TI Georgia has published a number of blog posts that dealt with ODRs planted in various agencies by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
We have called on the authorities, and the Parliament, on a number of occasions to investigate the legitimacy of the institution which infringes on the independence of institutions of government and interferes with the country’s democratic development. Transparency International Georgia also called on the Parliament to create a special commission to study this issue.
In October 2013, the then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili also responded to this issue stating that the authorities were trying and would soon stamp out the institution of ODRs. In February 2015, at a forum held by the coalition For Independent and Transparent Justice, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Levan Izoria, and the Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Sesiashvili, stated that the institution was in need of reform.
Despite this statement, the draft law developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is being discussed in the Parliament of Georgia, still envisages planting security officers in various structures.
We once again present the blog posts about the so-called ODRs that our organization has published at various times:
- 24 October 2013, Media environment ahead of the October 27 presidential elections: The GNCC – investigations, impeachment and illegal MoI involvement
- January 27, 2014, Confirmation that Ministry of Internal Affairs maintains an officer at GNCC
- October 6, 2014, Security Officers (“ODRs”) – existing malpractice
- November 3, 2014, And again security officers
- November 24, 2014, Officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Public Broadcaster