The Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia Activity Report 2015
On February 9, 2016, the Public Defender presented a activity report 2015 to the representatives of the Government, Parliament, diplomatic corps, international organizations, media and civil society. The report provides information on the implementation of Public Defender’s recommendations and proposals.
In 2015 the number of applications submitted to the Public Defender increased compared to the previous year and amounted to 8517; human and financial resources of the Public Defender’s Office was strengthened; relations with international human rights and regional organizations were deepened and expanded; the practice of preparation of special reports on various aspects of human rights was intensified; high level of reporting on the activities of the office was maintained in the media sources; dialogue with diplomatic corps and international organizations became regular; legislative work of the Public Defender was strengthened in terms of human rights; 24-hour hotline was launched, the Academy of Human Rights was opened.
Election of the Public Defender as a full member of the Bureau of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions was one of the important events; working with the commissions in charge of implementing the action plan defined by the EU Visa Liberalization and the Association Agenda, the EU-Georgia Human Rights Dialogue, the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership for Democracy and Governance was also very important.
As per the amendments made to the Imprisonment Code, following the legislative proposal of the Public Defender’s Office, the Public Defender was granted the right to take photos in prison; the scope of the Public Defender's representation in the regions was expanded; the Public Defender paid regular visits to regions, where he studied local problems and held meetings with local population and local authorities.
The report on implementation of recommendations and proposals sent to various agencies and individuals covers a period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. In 2015, the number of Public Defender's recommendation/proposals was decreased, due to the fact that, unlike the previous years, the number of system issues and problems were reflected in the Public Defender's special reports. In addition, it should be noted that various agencies adequately responded to the Public Defender’s appeals, and human rights were restored within the framework of the Public Defender's examination of cases, due to which there was no more need for provision of recommendations/proposals.
A total of 80 recommendations/proposals were prepared in 2015. 5 out of them were sent to private individuals within the authority of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.
When defining the quality ratio of implementation of recommendations/proposals, the Public Defender considers not only formal, normative criteria, such as a reply to a recommendation or the term of reply, but also assesses the effectiveness of the actions performed by the agencies with regard to the restoration of violated rights.
40 out of 80 recommendations (50%) were implemented; 14 (17%) were partly implemented; 26 (33%) were not responded at all.
Like the previous years, the level of referral to the Chief Prosecutor's Office was high – 22 recommendations/proposals, the vast majority of which concerned the launch of an investigation into the cases of ill-treatment.
It should be noted that the recommendations submitted to the Prosecutor's Office concern not only the launch of an investigation, but also its effective continuation and completion in time, which are one of the quality indicators of performance. Unfortunately, in 2015 the efficiency of investigations launched by the Prosecutor's Office on the basis of Public Defender's recommendations was significantly low.
Public Defender's recommendations were not implemented by the Secretary of High Council of Justice, the Minister of Corrections, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, the principal of Tbilisi public school No 115, the Director of Patrol Police Department, the Municipal Development Fund and the Akhmeta municipality.
The High Council of Justice, the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, the Chief Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Civil Registry Agency, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice and the Governor of Sagarejo Municipality have not replied to the recommendations at all and therefore, this can be regarded as non-implementation of the recommendations.