“In accordance with Article 6(1) of the Law, a person elected as Public Defender must be a citizen of Georgia. The Law is otherwise silent on the criteria to be used in identifying and evaluating candidates.
Further, in accordance with Article 6(2) of the Law, the Public Defender is elected by a majority of the members of the Parliament, and may be nominated by a Parliamentary faction or by a group of at least six (6) members of Parliament who do not belong to any faction.
The SCA is of the view that the process currently enshrined in the Law is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies;
– establish clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of eligible applicants; and
– promote broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection, and appointment process.
The SCA acknowledges that the OPD reports that there are currently efforts underway to amend the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament to provide detail procedures for selection, and that it has been actively involved in this process.
The SCA encourages the OPD to continue to advocate for amendments for the formalization and application of a process that includes requirements to:
a) Publicize vacancies broadly;
b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
c) Promote broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
e) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”