2019 - Parliamentary Access to Classified Information

17 June 2019

Joint NATO PA / DCAF Study

Democratic and civilian oversight of the security sector is now a well-established principle in democracies. The security sector refers to all structures, institutions and personnel responsible for security provision, management and oversight at the national and local levels.

A range of state and non-state actors are involved in overseeing the security sector to ensure that security providers act in an accountable, transparent and effective manner within a framework of rule of law and respect for human rights. Among these, parliaments have a crucial role, having the ultimate ‘democratic legitimacy’ and the extensive oversight powers and competences that come with it. 

In order to carry out these functions effectively, parliamentarians should have access to all information necessary to fulfill their oversight duties. By way of example, without unhindered access to and review of the files, including classified information, held by intelligence services, parliamentarians would not be able to assess whether the services are acting in line with laws and government policies.

This timely volume not only gives access to comparative data on parliamentary access to classified information, it is also a source of arguments for bringing one’s house in order and establishing proper parliamentary oversight in the realm of security and defence in newly democratic states.

Read the full study by downloading the document below (English and Georgian versions)