EMC statement on the investigation launched regarding the conspiracy to overthrow the government

EMC_logoIt has become publicly known, that few days ago, the State Security Service (a new agency created as a result of reforms of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) launched an investigation under the Article 315 of the Georgian criminal code, which includes conspiracy to overthrow the government or seize the power.

The spreading of this information by the Security Service coincided and consequently became related to the information published online right before the start of the investigation; According to media, the mentioned source may describe the details of the conversation between Mikheil Saakashvili and Giga Bokeria.

The State Service didn’t issue any additional explanation regarding the specific basis for launching the investigation or any further investigation activities. Thus, it is unknown to public whether the launched investigation is based on the mentioned sources or whether it has other legal basis. Public is also uninformed about the progress or the current state of the investigation or any circumstances revealed as a result of the investigation.

According to the current legislation, the investigative agency is obliged to start the investigation if it has information about a crime. At the same time, the basis of the investigation may become the information spread by media. It is obvious, that the law concerns the information which is somewhat credible and reliable and seems convincing to the objective observer. It is also clear, that at the initial stage of the investigation, it is impossible to be 100% sure of the reliability of the information and that verifying of the information is also the part of the investigation.

In the circumstances, when the situation concerns the constitutional order and the possible actions against the state power, it is especially important to inform the public in timely and proper manner, about the conditions of the case. Unfortunately, the investigative organs have not yet confirmed the reliability and authenticity of the information of the given article. The video, audio or any other evidence of the conversation described in the article has not been made available either. In these circumstances and due to the questions towards the mentioned internet portal, there are increased doubts on the reliability of the information that became the basis for the investigation. The results that followed the launch of the investigation and manifested in increased police control and enhanced surveillance on the territory of Rustavi2 must also be considered. The mentioned circumstances enhance the expectations and requests for the Security Service to issue additional explanations on the ongoing investigation.

State Security Service is a newly created agency and very limited information is available about its activities. It is known, that the Service has particularly wide authority and is characterized of high level of security, which complicates any outside control over the legality of its actions. The situation is further complicated by the absence of consistent and effective mechanism for implementing democratic control over the security sector, which would ensure relevant supervision.

Within the existing legal system, parliamentary control is the only option of overseeing the work of the security systems, despite the fact that parliamentary mechanisms are insufficient and ineffective, namely, the mandate of parliamentary trust group is limited. Nevertheless, the legislation provides for the accountability of the State Security Service towards the Parliament and establishes the obligation for the Head of the Department, upon request, to attend sessions of the Parliament and answer questions.

Taking into consideration the existing questions towards the Security Service, general political situation, circumstances related to media and political actors:

  • We call on the State Security Service to issue clarification about the real basis for starting the investigation and inform the society about the status of the investigation;
  • We call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to clarify what is the purpose of an ongoing surveillance on the territory of a private TV station and what is the connection between the launched investigation and Rustavi2;
  • We call on the parliament of Georgia to carry out its obligation and implement the parliamentary control mechanism over the State Security Service. Namely, to summon and listen to the Head of State Security Service regarding the situation on maintaining constitutional order.