Научная статья на тему 'Anti-corruption policy and legal regulations for counteracting corruption in Georgia'

Anti-corruption policy and legal regulations for counteracting corruption in Georgia Текст научной статьи по специальности «Государство и право. Юридические науки»

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Аннотация научной статьи по государству и праву, юридическим наукам, автор научной работы — Ivanov Alexey

The paper looks at the anti-corruption reforms in Georgia, reveals the legal framework for the counteraction of corruption in the country, gives an assessment of the reforms being implemented and their conformity with international rules and principles, and performs an analysis of the measures that are aimed at optimising the anticorruption mechanism in the context of a particular state.

Текст научной работы на тему «Anti-corruption policy and legal regulations for counteracting corruption in Georgia»

LEGiSLATION ABROAD

ANTI-CORRUPTION POLICY AND LEGAL REGULATIONS FOR COUNTERACTING CORRUPTION IN GEORGIA

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14420/ru.2013.4.9 web-site: http://bar-association.ru/

Alexey ivanov, Post-graduate student at the International Institute of Public

Administration and Management of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

Summary. The paper looks at the anti-corruption reforms in Georgia, reveals

the legal framework for the counteraction of corruption in the country, gives an assessment of the reforms being implemented and their conformity with international rules and principles, and performs an analysis of the measures that are aimed at optimising the anticorruption mechanism in the context of a particular state.

Keywords: corruption, Georgia, legislation, anti-corruption reforms, anti-

corruption policy.

Legislators, politicians, and the general public have lately been paying more and attention to the search for new models for an effective struggle against corruption. In this context, the author has selected Georgia as the subject for his research, since in recent years this country has been displaying a pronounced tendency towards taking a strong position to counteract corruption. According to the non-governmental international agency Transparency International, which was organised to fight corruption and to research corruption levels in states all over the world, Georgia's anti-corruption score, based on the corruption perception index (CPI), increased significantly during the past decade. In 2004 the country was ranked 133, but in 2012 it was ranked 51, which meant that Georgia had drawn ahead of such states as the Czech Republic and Turkey (which share 54th position)1.

An organisation called the Group of States Against Corruption, GRECO, has been established by the Council of Europe. In a number of this organisation's reports concerning Georgia over the period from 2006 to 2013, it is stated that GRECO's experts deeply appreciate the anti-corruption initiatives and measures taken by the Georgian authorities2. For example, GRECO's report for 2011

1 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) // Transparency International Russia (Centre of Anti-Corruption Research and Initiative). URL: http://transparency.org.ru/indeks-vospriiatiia-korruptcii/blog.

2 The official website of the international organisation named Group of States Against Corruption, GRECO concerning Asia // URL: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/default_en.asp.

covers the process of the implementation into the country's legislation of certain regulations, namely, Articles 1(a, c), 2-12, 15-17 and 191 of the Convention on Criminal Responsibility for Corruption (ETS No. 173), which was signed by Georgia in 1999 and ratified in 2008. In the report, the experts positively characterize Georgia's long-term work in this field, present key statistical figures in the area of counteracting corruption, and give recommendations (as it is traditional for GRECO to do). According to the GRECO report for 2013, all the recommendations were implemented and properly reported2.

According to annual research conducted by the World Bank Group in the framework of its “Doing Business” reports from 2009 to 2013, Georgia was ranked among the top twenty countries in the rating of states with a favourable entrepreneurial climate. Moreover, in 2013 the country swept into the top ten (9th place) in the rankings, having drawn ahead of such states as Australia and Finland (10th and 11th places respectively). These reports present the results of annual research aimed at evaluating the ease of doing business on the basis of key aspects of the yearly cyclic business processes. The regulatory and legal framework that regulates entrepreneurial business proves to be an important evaluation criterion. The Ease of Doing Business Index indicates that the regulatory environment is beneficial for entrepreneurial activities.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in its evaluation report for 2010, stated that Georgia had shown significant progress in the area of counteracting crime and corruption. This progress was reflected in normative acts and amendments to these acts that were passed in recent years in order to ensure compliance with appropriate international rules and standards3.

In the last decade Georgia has shown a steady tendency to provide support to entrepreneurial businesses and to make reforms that exert a healthy influence on business. In my judgment, the fact that Georgia rates so high among other countries according to the Doing Business report for 2013 is directly linked to the anti-corruption policy of the Georgian authorities in recent years, which affects all aspects directly connected with entrepreneurial activities. The effective reform of the system of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which prioritised the fight against corruption in the scope of all state activities, played a dominant role in achieving this result.

Considering the legal framework that forms the basis of the anti-corruption policy in Georgia, and relying on reference data, it should be noted that the Constitution of Georgia4 is of prime importance in the administration of the country. Notwithstanding the fact that the Georgian Constitution does not contain such concepts as “corruption” or “bribe”, the Constitutional Law of Georgia stipulates the fundamental principles of the administration of the state, which are fixed so that nobody can act outside them, and this is followed in the norms of other laws.

1 Report of GRECO for 2011 concerning Georgia, Asia // URL: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2010)12_Georgia_One_EN.pdf.

2 Report of GRECO for 2013 concerning Georgia, Asia // URL: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3(2013)9_Georgia_EN.pdf.

3 Network for political housecleaning for Eastern Europe and Central Asia] // URL: http://www.oecd. org/countries/georgia/45164879.pdf.

4 Government of Georgia - The official website // URL: http://www.government.gov.ge/.

However, we should start by specifying the legal framework that provides the context in which anti-corruption reforms can be carried out in Georgia. When the President of the country enacted Decree No. 550 dated 24 June 2005 “On Adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy”1 and the Action Plan on the implementation of this strategy, this proved to be the turning point in creating a legal mechanism for carrying out the anti-corruption policy in Georgia. These regulatory legal acts were generated with the direct involvement of the civil society and in cooperation with a number of international agencies that were present in Georgia. Since the Government of Georgia2, considered the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and the Action Plan to be efficient instruments for preventing corruption, these documents have required constant explanation and regular updating in the course of their implementation. For example, in 2007 modifications to the Action Plan were introduced.

The Acts mentioned above are no longer effective. They were replaced by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy of Georgia for 2010-2013 which was enacted on 3 June 20103.

The government was given the task of identifying “sensitive to corruption sectors and the typology of corruption actions spread in these sectors in order to avoid cases of taking bribes, embezzlement, blackmail, abuse of power, secrets of state revelation, infringement of national security, etc”4.

The main directions for anti-corruption policy in Georgia for the period from 2010 to 2013 were as follows:

- enhancement of the efficiency of the public sector and the eradication of corruption;

- growth in private sector competitiveness and release from the grip of corruption;

- improvement in public justice activities;

- legislative development in the field of anti-corruption legislation;

- prevention of corruption;

- funding for political parties5.

The legal regulations for the institutional foundation of the anti-corruption policy played a significant role in counteracting corruption. Before 2005, several organisations alternated in playing the coordinating role for the Georgian anticorruption policy. For example, in 2005 the Office of the State Minister was in charge of coordinating the reforms relating to this task, and in 2008 a decision was made to create a single-purpose body, namely the Interagency Anti-Corruption Council, to coordinate the anti-corruption policy.

We are already able today to sum up some results of the anti-corruption

1 Decree No. 550 dated 24 June 2005 “On Adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy”/ (in Georgian] // URL: The official site of the Georgian Parliament old.parliament.ge/files/290_14922_720805_ REPORT_Final.pdf.

2 Government of Georgia - The official website // URL: http://www.government.gov.ge/.

3 Presidential Decree dated 3 June 2010 “On Adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy” (in Georgian)] // URL: The official website of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia http://www.justice.gov.ge/.

4 G. Loladze. Antikorruptsionnaja strategija [Anti-Corruption Strategy] // Journal AIF Tbilisi (Arguments and Facts). 2010. No. 37.

5 See footnote 9.

reforms in Georgia, and it is worth reviewing the changes to the legislation in Georgia that have been caused by these reforms.

First of all, we will consider the legislation that directly concerns the reforms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. Among the first acts taken to transform the framework of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Georgia was the adoption of a law related to the State Traffic Inspectorate (which is abbreviated in Russian to GAI); today this agency is called the Patrol Police. The measures covered by the Law “On Patrol Police” could in fact be considered to be thoroughgoing, since in one day 15,000 police officers, or in other words all the regular staff members of the Georgian GAI, were dismissed. This radical measure was aimed at bringing to an end the practice of bribery among departmental officers. Arrests of GAI officers continued until they stopped taking bribes, and that was the result the Government of Georgia initially intended to achieve. “The prison population increased fourfold

- from 5 to 20 [pesons]”1. The Patrol Police, being a new agency, was formed from a combination of the traffic police and the field service. In the course of this reform a total of about 35,000 departmental officers were dismissed2. According to other sources, out of 70,000 departmental officers in the Criminal Police, only 16,000 kept their jobs. In addition, the authorities abolished the procedure of technical checks and raised wages by a factor of between 10 and 20 for new officers, who were enlisted in open competition; they also included the State Security Ministry and the Ministry of Emergencies (which is abbreviated in Russian to MChS) into the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs3. In the context of these reforms the Police Academy of Georgia was also established.

One of the bright innovations that were introduced in Georgia was “transparency in a literal sense of the word. The building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia in Tbilisi looks like an enormous glass wave. Inside there are large windows from floor to ceiling with no curtains, no blinds. All police stations look no less transparent and open”4.

Reforms in the governmental agencies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were fluently transformed into alterations of the criminal legislation and the procedural criminal law.

First and foremost we should note changes in the Criminal Code of Georgia5, which is the basic document of penal law. The Criminal Code of Georgia currently in force was signed by President E. Shevarnadze on 22 July 1999. It has been in operation since 1 June 2000, having succeeded the Criminal Code of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.

In the context of the anti-corruption reforms, an emphasis was laid on

1 Reforma MVD Gruzii [Reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia] // URL: http://politiparties. ru/2011/08/reforma_mvd_v_gruzii/.

2 Allenova O. Vano Merabishvili: russkije zastavljajut abkhazov gotovitsja k vojne [Vano Merabishvili: the Russians force the Abkhazians into preparing for war] // Kommersant. 2008. 28 May.

3 KarasevM. Politsija: opyt reform [Police: Experience of Reforms] // Polit.ru. 2010. 30 August.

4 Papunina D.O. Antikorruptsionnye mery: zarubezhnyj opyt [Anti-Corruption Measures: Foreign Experience] // Vestnik Cheljabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Chelyabinsk State University]. 2012. No. 3. p. 134.

5 Ugolovnyj kodeks Gruzii 1999 [Criminal Code of Georgia 1999]. Saint Petersburg: Juridicheskij tsentr Press, 2002.

amendments related to the elements essential to the corruption offences, and on the introduction of tougher sanctions for such offences. Thus, when elements suggesting bribery were found, materials concerning officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia were transferred to the Procuratorate, and criminal suits were initiated regardless of the rank or honours of the offender. Penalties became more severe. For example, if a police officer was offered a bribe, and he or she just refused the bribe but did not arrest the person offering the bribe in accordance with his or her duty, the police officer could no longer serve in the police. In the context of the amendments adopted in November 2011, the legislators significantly expanded the list of those who could be held responsible for socially dangerous acts associated with corrupt practices. “Members and employees (regular staff) of single-purpose parliamentary committees, parties to the electoral process (natural persons), as well as members of the jury and arbitral bodies of foreign courts that perform their functions under the law of foreign states” were included in the list of people who could be guilty of taking bribes1.

In addition, the requirement of “double criminalisation” in regard to crimes committed by citizens of Georgia when abroad was annulled; at the same time this jurisdiction was expanded and it now also covers foreign citizens who exercise their ex officio power on behalf of Georgia and commit a crime in the territory of another state.

In 2005 the President of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, signed a brave law called “On Organized Criminality and Racketeering”. This law challenges organised crime and aims to counteract organised crime, racketeering, and mafias, as well as to protect private, public and state interests.

Articles 1-4 of this law, for example, define racketeering, criminal groups, the criminal underworld, a 'criminal-in-law', members of their families and close relatives. Article 5 deals with the issue of stolen property and describes procedures to confiscate it and transfer it to back to its lawful owner in a way that will satisfy this person's legitimate interests; if it proves to be impossible to determine the rightful owner, the property is transferred to the state. Article 6 establishes the responsibility of members of the criminal world and 'criminals-in-law'.

After the adoption of this law, legislators amended Georgia's Criminal Code. Among other amendments, changes were made to Article 223 of the Georgian Criminal Code, which provides for between three and eight years in prison, with or without the confiscation of property, for those who are members of the criminal world (Part 1). If the alleged offender is proved to be a criminal-in-law, his or her term of imprisonment can be increased to between five and ten years with or without confiscation of property (Part 2).

Since May 2005 the Code of Criminal Procedure of Georgia has also been subject to amendments that can be summarised as follows:

- any information concerning the fact that an offence has been committed is now to result in the launch of a preliminary investigation;

- the Procurator General's Office can now exert closer control over preliminary investigations so as to eliminate cases of the violation of human rights;

1 O reformakh v Gruzii: otchet o prodelannoj rabote, sovershenstvovanije normativno-pravovoj bazy. Otsenka OESR [On Reforms in Georgia: Progress Report, Improvement of Regulatory and Legal Framework. The OECD Assessment] // URL: http://www.oecd.org/countries/georgia/45164879.pdf.

- the period allowed for conducting a preliminary investigation is reduced from 9 to 4 months, and the period for detention in custody is reduced from 24 to 12 months;

- the accused party has a right to call in evidence two witnesses for any investigation, and to organise his or her own investigation; and

- there is introduced an institution of procedural transactions1.

Assessing the results of Georgia's anti-corruption policy as a whole,

and considering the anti-corruption reforms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in particular, it should be noted that one of the principal factors, which contributed to the rapid change in the struggle against corruption, was that Georgia appeared to abandon the ethnic-tribal principle in social development. So far Georgia has been the only Caucasian republic that has managed to cross the barrier erected by the ethnic-tribal approach. A distinguishing feature of corruption in the Caucasus is its “crony” or “clannish” character. This means that specific groups of citizens promote their kinsmen rather than more experienced and better qualified candidates. Another essential factor that helped to achieve positive results was the intention of the ruling coalition to counteract corruption in all its manifestations and in all sectors. Key roles in this success were performed by a new regulatory and legal framework created by introducing radical changes into laws, and particularly into the Criminal Code, by establishing the rule of law, and by the complete elimination of double standards that implied the existence of immunity for certain persons.

The Georgian criminologist Georgij Glonti wrote that “the Georgians automatically resist law in any form”2. However, anti-corruption reforms in Georgia affected not only the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but also the very system of the national administration, thus demonstrating that Glonti's opinion has no basis whatsoever. Apparently, ethnic identity and political culture are variable rather than invariable values. Therefore, we should recognise that these anti-corruption reforms have not only changed the social structure in an individual but have also broken the stereotype that the vice of corruption in Georgia is ineradicable because it is alleged to be deeply rooted in Georgian culture.

At the same time, an analysis of the results of the anti-corruption policy in Georgia gives evidence that it was the concept of tightening the penalties that formed the basis for its legal regulation. On the one hand, Georgia achieved excellent results in its struggle against corruption, and this is reflected by the way the country is positioned in the standards and ratings systems of international organisations. On the other hand, we can see that there has been an excessive tightening of criminal legislation, since, for instance, petty theft and taking bribes are now punished by long-term prison confinement.

On the whole, the analysis of the anti-corruption reforms and their legal reasoning demonstrates that tough and radical measures with regard to the state system of government have produced the intended effect.

1 See: Putevoditel po novomu UPK Gruzii [Guide to the New Code of Criminal Procedure of Georgia] / Comp. by Z. Meishvili. Ed. by T Kokrashvili. Tbilisi: LLC Sezan, 2010.

2 Citedin: Shahnazarian N. Politseiskaja reforma i korruptsija v Gruzii, Armenii i Nagornom Karabakhe. Analiticheskaja zapiska [Police Reform and Corruption in Georgia, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. Analytic Report] // URL:http://ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/ pepm232_russ_shahnazarian_sept2012.pdf.

References

1. Allenova O. Vano Merabishvili: russkije zastavljajut abkhazov gotovitsja k vojne [Vano Merabishvili: the Russians Force the Abkhazians into Preparing for War] // Kommersant. 2008. 28 May.

2. Karasev M. Politsija: opyt reform [Police: Experience of Reforms] // Polit.ru. 2010. 30 August.

3. Loladze G. Antikorruptsionnaja strategija [Anti-Corruption Strategy] // Journal AIF Tbilisi [Arguments and Facts]. 2010. No. 37.

4. Papunina D.O. Antikorruptsionnye mery: zarubezhnyj opyt [Anti-Corruption Measures: Foreign Experience] // Vestnik Cheljabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Chelyabinsk State University]. 2012. No. 3.

5. Putevoditel po novomu UPK Gruzii [Guide to the New Code of Criminal Procedure of Georgia] / Comp. by Z. Meishvili. Ed. by T. Kokrashvili. Tbilisi: LLC Sezan, 2010.

6. Ugolovnyj kodeks Gruzii. 1999. [Criminal Code of Georgia. 1999] Saint Petersburg: Juridicheskij tsentr Press, 2002.

7. Shahnazarian N. Politsejskaja reforma i korruptsija v Gruzii, Armenii i Nagornom Karabakhe: Analiticheskaja zapiska [Police Reform and Corruption in Georgia, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region: Analytic Report] // URL:http://ponarseurasia.org/ sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/pepm232_russ_shahnazarian_sept2012.pdf.