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International standards and good practices in the governance and oversight of security services

The presented research analyzes international standards and best practices in the governance and oversight of security services. The report consists of four chapters: (1) mandate and functions of security services; (2) executive control of security services, (3) oversight and accountability of security services; (4) transparency of security services.

Each chapter starts with an overview of international standards established by the most notable international and European bodies and actors such as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, the Council of Europe European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU FRA).

In each chapter, international standards are followed by a brief overview of relevant practices in selected four countries. For the purposes of this report, the following countries were chosen, by taking into consideration Georgia’s overall Euro-Atlantic integration perspective:

  • Germany and Belgium as two European countries with advanced oversight and accountability mechanisms, which are often referred to as representing best practices;
  • Croatia as a European country with a recent history of democratization which undertook substantial reforms of the security sector in the framework of its EU integration process;
  • Canada as a non-European country, yet a member of NATO and OSCE, often referred to as embodying best practices in the governance and oversight of the security sector.

It should be noted that there is no country with a perfectly functioning security and intelligence governance and oversight system. Each country has its unique circumstances, struggling to counter multiple transnational threats in an ever-changing global security environment. The practices from the selected four countries are not meant to prescribe a ‘solution’ to challenges encountered in Georgia. They are intended to illustrate the different ways in which international standards are implemented in those countries, and provide a platform for Georgian.

This report was prepared by the financial assistance of the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Download the report here⇓


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