24 February 2020,   02:40
Ombudsman addresses State Inspector to study lawfulness of Justice Minister’s activities

The Public Defender of Georgia addressed the State Inspector and requested that the Minister of Justice examine the lawfulness of the video recordings published at the session of the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia on January 21, 2020.

“Two of the video recordings depicted certain episodes of the meeting between the Public Defender’s representatives and prisoners at the penitentiary establishments. On the same day, the videos were posted on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Justice as well. The faces of the Public Defender’s representatives were visible in the publicly available videos and they can be easily identified.

The Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender of Georgia prohibits any kind of video-audio surveillance of a meeting between the Public Defender"s representatives and prisoners by the Ministry of Justice.

In addition, the rules for carrying out visual and/or electronic surveillance and control, as well as for retaining, deleting and destroying recordings in the penitentiary establishments are set out in Order No 35 of the Minister of Corrections signed on May 19, 2015.

Accordingly, the Public Defender calls on the State Inspector’s Office to examine the action of the Minister of Justice, to assess the legality of obtaining and publicizing the aforementioned video recordings and to apply the sanction mechanism at its disposal.

In addition to the above, according to the Public Defender, the State Inspector should examine the general practice of archiving video recordings at the Ministry of Justice and take legal measures in the event of detecting other illegal actions”, - reads the statement of the Ombudsman’s Office.