The following description shall be considered a summary of legislation relating to National Human Rights Institutions in Georgia only, and does not seek to address nor provide any indication of the de facto practical implementation of the relevant laws.
The Constitution of Georgia establishes the Office of the Public Defender as an independent institution empowered to “oversee the protection” of human rights and freedoms in the country. He/she is elected for 5 years by the Parliament by the majority of its total number of members (Article 43 of the Constitution). Article 4 of the Organic Law on the Public Defender1 stipulates that the Public Defender shall be fully independent in his/her activity and shall be guided by the Constitution and laws of Georgia. The Law also establishes that he/she is also “inviolable”, in other words largely immune to criminal process while in office: he/she may not be prosecuted or arrested and his/her vehicle or premises may not be searched without the Parliament’s consent thereto, regardless of whether such accusations relate to his work as Public Defender or not. This does not apply if the Public Defender is caught flagrante delicto (while committing the act), in which case the Parliament should be notified of this immediately; however, unless the Parliament gives its consent, the arrested or detained Public Defender must be released immediately. Once the Public Defender’s term of office has expired, this extensive immunity from criminal process is reduced to actions taken in relation to his office in the past. The Public Defender is not authorized to testify about matters that have been entrusted to him/her as Public Defender, even after the end of his/her official tenure. He/she may also not be prosecuted for any views expressed in connection with his/her duties (Article 5 of the Organic Law on Public Defender).