Disciplinary liability system In law enforcement agencies

With the present document the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) continues to analyze the activities, institutional arrangement and practice of the General Inspectorates of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (hereinafter MIA) and the State Security Service (hereinafter SSG). The document aims to assess the work of the disciplinary mechanism in the law enforcement system, its efficiency, the degree of fairness and transparency and the possibility of extending judicial control over it.

The disciplinary mechanism plays an important role in ensuring the accountability of the law enforcement officers for their actions. Due to the specific nature of the functions of law enforcement officers, in case of improper execution of their powers, the society may be at high risk. Consequently, it is important to have a disciplinary process, which in observance of fairness and impartiality principle, will serve the interests of all three parties – the officer, the society and the employer agency.

In 2015, the research conducted by the EMC revealed institutional gaps that characterize the internal liability system in law enforcement agencies (the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service were one agency at that time). Also, it has been revealed that extensive powers of law enforcement officers are not balanced by effective internal and external control mechanisms.

Given that the legislation has not sufficiently clear and defined procedures for disciplinary proceedings, the forms of internal structure of the General Inspectorates don’t ensure their solid functional independence, there is a risk that the management of the agency might have insufficient influence on the outcome of the resolution of a particular disciplinary case.  On the one hand, it can be expressed in manipulation of the officers by the procedure, in order to ensure the fulfillment of certain instructions. On the other hand, the vague and impaired system of disciplinary liability, may result in ineffective response to disciplinary misconduct, and a citizen affected in a particular case, has no effective means of protection from it.

Within the framework of the presented document there is an assessment of further control over the institutional arrangement, official inspection procedures and activities of the General Inspectorates, which are based on the analysis of international standards.

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