“In accordance with section 10(1) of the Law, the Ombudsman may be dismissed if he or she has allowed a shameful act that is incompatible with his or her status. The SCA continues to be of the view that this ground for dismissal is insufficiently defined and may be open to misuse.
Further, in accordance with section 10(2), such a dismissal may be proposed by not less than onethird of the Saeima and approved by an absolute majority vote of the Saeima. The SCA understands that a decision to dismiss the Ombudsman could be undertaken with the support of only 26 members of the Saeima. The SCA welcomes the introduction of a requirement that an investigation be undertaken by the Parliamentary Investigation Commission, and be submitted to the Parliament, in advance of a decision being taken. However, the SCA continues to be of the view that the process, even as amended, does not provide sufficient procedural safeguards to ensure that dismissal of the Ombudsman will not be undertaken for political reasons.
The SCA emphasizes that, in order to address the requirement for a stable mandate, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling law of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective process similar to that accorded to members of other independent State agencies.
The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to those actions that impact adversely on the capacity of the member to fulfil its mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. The dismissal must be made in strict conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements as prescribed by law. It should not be allowed to be based solely on the discretion of the appointing authorities.
The SCA is of the view that such requirements ensure the security of tenure of members of the governing body and are essential to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.”