The Public Defender of Georgia is a constitutional institution, which supervises the protection of human rights and freedoms within its jurisdiction on the territory of Georgia. It identifies the violations of human rights and contributes to the restoration of the violated rights and freedoms.
The Public Defender is independent in its activities. It does not belong to any branch of government.
The Public Defender of Georgia supervises:
- State agencies
- Local self-government agencies
- Public institutions
- Public officials
The Public Defender studies the cases of human rights violations both on the basis of the received applications and on his own initiative.
The Public Defender studies the cases relating to:
- Decisions of public institutions;
- Violations of human rights and freedoms during the review of cases in the courts;
- Violations of the rights of detainees, prisoners or individuals whose liberty had been otherwise restricted;
- Compliance of normative acts with the Second Chapter of the Constitution of Georgia;
- Constitutionality of the norms regulating referendums and elections, as well as the elections (referendum) held or to be held on the basis of these norms.
The Public Defender of Georgia is authorized to consider applications about violations of human rights and freedoms enshrined in the laws of Georgia, as well as in the international treaties and agreements, the party to which is Georgia.
In order to ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms, the Public Defender of Georgia:
- Submits proposals, remarks and recommendations concerning the Georgian legislation and draft laws to the Parliament or other relevant bodies;
- Addresses the state agencies, local self-government bodies, public institutions and public officials with proposals and recommendations concerning the restoration of the violated human rights and freedoms;
- Addresses the relevant investigative authorities with proposals about the launch of an investigation and/or criminal prosecution;
- Addresses the relevant agencies with proposals concerning the disciplinary or administrative responsibilities of the individuals, whose actions caused violations of human rights and freedoms;
- Performs the function of a friend of the court (Amicus Curiae) in the Common Courts and Constitutional Court;
- Submits constitutional suits to the Constitutional Court;
- Appeals to the President and Prime Minister in writing, if s/he considers that the means in disposal of the Public Defender are not sufficient;
- In special cases, appeals to the Parliament of Georgia to set up a temporary investigative commission and consider a specific issue.
The Public Defender of Georgia performs the function of the National Preventive Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Public Defender, within the framework of the abovementioned capacity, regularly checks the situation and treatment of the detainees, prisoners or individuals whose liberty had been otherwise restricted, convicts, as well as the inmates of psychiatric institutions, houses for older persons and orphanages.
One of the important functions of the Public Defender is the conduct of educational activities in the field of human rights and freedoms. He organizes events and campaigns aimed at raising awareness of human rights which unites various target groups.
As a result of the amendments made to the Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender in 2013, the Public Defender is authorized to submit to Parliament two candidates for Public Broadcaster’s Board of Trustees membership and elect three members in the Legal Aid Board.
The Public Defender's institution has been granted "A" status, meaning full compliance of the institution with the UN Paris Principles. As a result, the Public Defender of Georgia has the right to take part in the work of the national human rights institutions at the international and regional levels with the right to vote, hold a position in the bureau/sub-committees of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) and take part in the sessions of the Human Rights Council.