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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 1
Survival of the Prison Archive

A unique archive was kept in the former ¹1 Penitentiary Facility (Ortachala Prison). The archive contained documents and files about prisoners and those who worked in the prison system; it also stored important records pertaining to XX century history of Georgia. After the demolition of the prison in 2008, the fate of the archive was unclear.

The IDFI expressed interested in the Ortachala Prison archive as early as in 2013. The organization requested clarification from the National Archives of Georgia, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Corrections. The Ministry of Justice responded by forwarding the request to the Ministry of Corrections, and the National Archives stated that the documentation was not kept in their system.

As was found out, after the destruction of the Ortachala Prison in 2008, without following any procedures, the archive was transported to the basement of the administrative building of the Gldani ¹8 Penitentiary Facility.

Afterwards, the IDFI asked the Department of Corrections for permission to be allowed access to the archive. IDFI staff were the first to be authorized to evaluate the condition of the Ortachala Prison archive.

The IDFI discovered that the archive was in a precarious state. During the transportation of the archive, no classification and cataloging was done. The documents were placed in the basement, some in bags, some without. Most of the files simply sat on the floor under grave danger of destruction in the damp basement. Many of these files were already unrecoverable.

To save the archive, the IDFI offered to cooperate with the Ministry of Corrections. The organization facilitated communication between the Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Archives of Georgia, and the Ministry of Corrections to share experiences about modernizing archives. Several work meetings were convened to plan rehabilitation of the archive, transporting documents to a safe area, and cataloging them properly.

On September 8 2016, the Minister of Corrections and Probation, Kakha Kakhishvili, presented an annual report about reforms in the system. On the same day, after several years of restoration, a new archive of the Ministry of Corrections was opened.

Today, through the efforts of the Ministry, the documents are kept in a facility that meets modern standards. The study and cataloging of documentation continues. There are also plans to digitalize the archive.

For the time being, the prison archive is under subordination of the administrative department of the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia. (IDFI)

Clinics to be obliged to provide emergency medical aid if a citizen’s life is at risk

A new law making medical institutions provide citizens with emergency medical aid if their health or life is under threat will soon come into effect. In addition, they will be held criminally responsible if rejecting a patient being in need of immediate aid.

Georgia’s human rights parliamentary committee has discussed the issue at its first hearing today. Sophio Kiladze, Rati Ionatamishvili, Anri Okhanashvili and Vano Zardiashvili are the initiators of the said project.

As a reminder, those civilians who are clients of private insurance agencies are no longer allowed to be provided with medical services envisaged in the General State Healthcare program. According to Kiladze, all of this has caused certain problems.

“According to the incumbent law, doctors are committed to providing patients with constant medical assistance if a situation is critical, posing a threat to life, including if this was a result of a suicide attempt…a patient, being a client of a private agency’s insurance service may happen to be unprotected when facing a health problem but his guilt is still unclear,” Kiladze has said. “There is a risk that a medical institution may reject a patient with no financial resources,” she concluded. (IPN)