Special investigation service “actively involved” in fulfilment of EU membership candidacy conditions - agency head

The parliament of Georgia approved Koka Katsitadze as the head of the special investigative service in February. Photo: special investigative service press office 

Agenda.ge, 10 Oct 2022 - 13:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

The special investigative service of Georgia, a recently established agency probing abuse of power at institutions, is “actively involved” in the fulfilment of the European Union’s conditions for granting Georgia the membership candidate status, agency head Koka (Karlo) Katsitadze said on Monday. 

Speaking to Interpressnews, Katsitadze said the recommendations had offered “further strengthening” of the agency and its independence, with his staff already proposing amendments to relevant legislations within working groups formed by the ruling Georgian Dream party for work on the conditions. 

He also said the agency had requested a new list of articles it could investigate, extension of its mandate to look into all cases involving alleged violations of the European convention on human rights, as well as other changes that would ensure “financial strength and further levers for neutrality” for the body. 

Speaking about moves made over the past six months, Katsitadze said the agency had introduced a quality monitoring department and a guideline for its investigative policy, developed based on the recommendation of the European court of human rights and allowing “every applicant” to have access to case materials “from the very beginning”. 

It is an unprecedented event for the investigative body, which we have introduced and which ensures 100 percent transparency in the investigation process”, the official noted, adding three new offices had been added by the institution “for effective investigation” in eastern Kakheti, north-western Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti regions and in capital Tbilisi. The venues join another office in Tbilisi and the western cities of Kutaisi and Batumi.

Katsitadze said that a total of 100 individuals were employed in the previous state inspector's service before its split, with some of the employees choosing to continue working in the personal data protection service, while 67 requesting their stay in the investigative agency, with all of them allowed to do so.  Photo: special investigation service press office. 

The government of Georgia has also handed over two very important offices in the [eastern Georgian city of] Telavi and Zugdidi [in the west]”. Katsitadze stated, adding a lack of offices in previous years had “seriously hampered” the agency’s work. 

In a bid to prevent crimes by public servants, Katsitadze said the service planned to set up a special council with the involvement of the country’s prosecutor’s office, interior and justice ministries and the state security service. 

In response to the ongoing investigation by the agency on alleged inhumane treatment of the currently imprisoned former president Mikheil Saakashvili during his transfer from prison to Gori military hospital in November, Katsitadze said “not only his lawyers but also invited experts have access to case materials”, and stressed “several forensic studies“ had been scheduled based on the request of Saakashvili’s lawyers. 

In detailing statistics over the body’s recent work, he said the agency had reacted to 1,265 reports on alleged crimes over the past six months, while investigations had been launched in 246 cases and 34 individuals had been charged. 

  • The special investigation service and the personal data protection service were established to replace the state inspector service, which had combined responsibilities of the two offices before the ruling Georgian Dream party proposed its abolition in December 2021. The replacing service started operation in March in a bid to “further strengthen personal data protection and ensure more effective investigation of cases of alleged abuses of power”. 
  • In its earlier move, the Georgian Dream government had launched the state inspector service back in 2018 to study alleged offences by law enforcement officers.