“In accordance with article 161 of the Constitution, the Ombudsperson is elected by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of Congress. In accordance with article 3 of the Law, candidates are screened by a special commission which proposes between one (1) and five (5) candidates. The Law additionally provides for vacancies to be advertised. The SCA is of the view that the process established in the enabling law is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not clearly specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
The SCA notes with appreciation that a new Defensor has been appointed in September 2016. However, it notes with concern that the process of election of a candidate took more than five years due to the requirement for the candidate to receive the vote by two thirds (2/3) of the members of Parliament.
The SCA emphasizes the requirement for a clear, transparent and participatory selection process that promotes merit based selection and ensures pluralism. Such a process promotes the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of a national human rights institution.
The SCA encourages the DPP to advocate for an effective selection process contained in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guidelines, and for its subsequent application in practice. This should include 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;”