Appeal of the OGP Forum Member Organizations to the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia
Currently Georgia is in the process of elaborating the OGP Action Plan, within the frames of which, number of state institutions take commitments to ensure broader transparency and accountability of their work. Supreme Court of Georgia, among other institutions, is part of this process.
During the process of elaborating the action plan, civil society organizations prepared the recommendation package – the activities that will ensure more transparency and accountability of the state institutions. Among recommendations, organizations included the obligation of the Supreme Court of Georgia to proactively disclose the statistical data about the government surveillance. In case of releasing the statistics, society will be able to obtain information about the number of surveillance permit requests submitted to the Supreme Court from the corresponding public institutions and the number of complied requests. The representative of the Supreme Court, who attended the discussion of the recommendations, has not yet expressed the official position of the court regarding this issue.
While making the decision concerning this matter, please consider that surveillance is under huge public interest. The issue of accessibility of information about surveillance is problematic and it is proved by the recent studies. Thomas Hammarberg, EU Special Adviser on Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights in Georgia in his report puts emphases on the importance of immediate resolving of the issues connected to the practice of surveillance.
It must be noted that on Decemeber 17, 2013 more than 100 civil society organizations all over the world (including NGOs from Georgia) released the public appeal towards the co-chairs of “Open Government Partnership”, Steering Committee and the OGP member states. Public appeal was concerning the disproportionate practice of surveillance worldwide and the request of ensuring the transparency. One of the major recommendations of the appeal was improving the civic monitoring mechanisms on the surveillance. In this context, we believe that Supreme Court must provide the publicity of the statistic data.
We believe that publicity of this data depends on the will of the Supreme Court of Georgia which can easily process the data about surveillance and proactively release once in three months. It must be noted that disclosing such statistical information does not publicize the information about operative-investigative activities, thus releasing it does not contain the risk of publicizing the secret information. In addition, disclosure of the data will contribute to improving the civic monitoring mechanism, transparency and introducing the high standards of open governance.
We express readiness for cooperation with you and other agencies with the aim of resolving the issue promptly and efficiently.
Forum member non-governmental organizations:
- Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
- Transparency International – Georgia
- Georgian Young Lawyers Association
- Open Society Georgia – Foundation
- Jumpstart Georgia
- Economic Policy Research Center
- Partnership for Road Safety