The Council of Europeâ€™s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Georgia, in which it finds significant progress in legislation on transparency of political funding, but also stresses the need for a mechanism to supervise it is effectively applied.
The report focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.
Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [link to theme I report], GRECO finds that provisions on corruption in the Georgian Criminal Code are almost fully in line with the requirements of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173) and the Additional Protocol to the Convention (ETS 191).
However, a few specific points need to be addressed. GRECO calls upon Georgia to unambiguously cover bribery of foreign arbitrators and jurors and to revise its provisions on jurisdiction. It also points out the need to ensure that situations in which a third party benefits from the undue advantage are adequately covered in the provisions on private sector bribery and active trading in influence, and to review the special defence of â€˜effective regretâ€™ to minimise risks of abuse.
Concerning transparency of party funding [link to theme II report], GRECO notes the positive features of the Organic Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens and the Election Code, aimed at strengthening the transparency of party and election campaign financing.
However it finds that it needs to be ensured that financial information on partiesâ€™ income, expenditure, assets and debts is disclosed in an appropriate level of detail and that this information is made publicly accessible.
GRECO regards as a fundamental weakness of the current system the lack of effective monitoring which undermines the effectiveness in practice of the relevant rules. Establishing an effective supervisory mechanism and ensuring adequate, impartial enforcement of the rules on the funding of political parties and election campaigns must therefore be a matter of priority.
GRECO addresses 15 recommendations to Georgia. In the first half of 2013, it will assess the implementation of these recommendations through its specific compliance procedure.
GRECO was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor statesâ€™ compliance with the organisationâ€™s anti-corruption standards. Currently it comprises 48 European states and the United States of America.