2016 Parliamentary Elections

The statement of the Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia on the formation of the Group of Trust of the Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee

The newly elected Parliament is currently deliberating on the formation of the Group of Trust of the Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee. The Group of Trust is an important institution, the function of which is to control the secret activities and expenses of the defense and law enforcement agencies. The State Security Service of Georgia is accountable to the Group of Trust. Moreover, the Group of Trust has access to information that includes details on security issues with international partners of Georgia.

Due to this, it is essential that the Group of Trust is composed of deputies with the relevant competency, biographical background and reputation. Regrettably, the Parliament abolished the need for voting for the Group of Trust members under the 8th convocation. This has negatively impacted the political weight and legitimacy of the Group of Trust and should be viewed as a step back in the democratic control of state security institutions.

According to Georgian legislation, the members of the Group of Trust should undergo a background check as defined by the law. Moreover, along with the other members of the committee, they will have to participate in events under the framework of NATO, thus requiring a background check by NATO security standards as well.

Due to this, the Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia calls upon the Georgian Parliament for the following:

To thoroughly observe the formation of the committee and Group of Trust, in an effort to avoid any damage to the security interests of the state
To restore the appointment of Group of Trust members through voting and form a new Group of Trust based on this rule
Based on the memorandum of understanding signed between the Defense and Security Committee and NGOs in 2013, to support the democratic and civil control over the security sector and give civil society the space to conduct monitoring over the processes, as well as be a contributor to the development of the security sector.
The Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia is issuing this statement partly in response to the information spread by the media that Member of the Parliament Emzar Kvitsiani is allegedly a candidate for the membership of the Group of Trust. Whether or not these rumors are true, our recommendations will still have a positive impact in any similar situations that may occur in the future. The Coalition is prepared to actively work with the Parliament on all issues related to the Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia.

Transparency International Georgia
Civil Development Agency
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Open Society Georgia Foundation
Atlantic Council of Georgia
Georgian Farmers Association
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
The Economic Policy Research Center
Green Alternative
Georgian Center for Security and Development
Media Development Foundation
UN Association of Georgia
Society and Banks
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies
Georgian Democracy Initiative
Georgian Institute of Politics
Regional Centre for Strategic Studies
In Depth Reporting and Advocacy Center
Voice from Georgia
Liberal Academy Tbilisi
Union Sapari
Georgian Reforms Associates
World Experience for Georgia