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GYLA presents report on ‘forms of torture and inhuman or degraging treatment and prevention’

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, April 30
The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) held an online presentation of the report ‘Forms of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Prevention’ on 29th of April, 2020 .

As stated in the statement made by GYLA, 10 criminal matters filed by GYLA in 2019 were analyzed for the purposes of the report. The specific form of ill-treatment, the subject/s implementing it, the issue of recognizing a person as a victim, the problem of making a summary decision on the case were assessed.

The report also analyzes the Georgian legislation, the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, public information requested from various agencies, the results of a survey of lawyers working on ill-treatment and 2 convicts of penitentiary institutions.

According to the GYLA statement, there have been no systematic cases of torture and ill-treatment in recent years, but it still prevails as a problem that law enforcers still commit similar crimes. As in previous years, it remains a challenge for law enforcement agencies to properly document such facts, conduct investigations within a reasonable time, and recognize victims of ill-treatment as victims.

The positive step was the creation of the State Inspector's Office and its implementation, however, the adoption of the law on the State Inspector, according to which the inspector has a limited mandate, ‘cannot be positively assessed.’

The key findings revealed by the study results were multiple. Analysis of the cases in GYLA's case showed that in 2019, the form of torture/ill-treatment by law enforcement officers was mainly beatings, however, there are cases of psychological violence, in one case - forced abortion and in one case - rape.

GYLA study reads, that one of the victims in the case of GYLA and a prisoner in a penitentiary institution said during the interrogation that they had attempted suicide after putting pressure on them, ‘which indicates the severity of the psychological consequences of torture/ill-treatment.’

According to the report, investigation of cases of torture/ill-treatment in GYLA proceedings, despite their severity, in most cases (60%)begins with Article 333 of the Criminal Code. The investigation of most cases of alleged ill-treatment has been initiated by the Prosecutor's Office under Article 333 of the Criminal Code, abuse of power (91%).

The rate of granting victim status to victims in cases of ill-treatment is still quite low, in particular, only 2 out of 10 cases in GYLA proceedings are known to be victims and none of the cases in the GYLA proceedings, where the investigation is underway under Article 333 of the Criminal Code, has been filed. The decision of the prosecutor to refuse to recognize the victim in connection with 7 cases has been appealed in court. Of the appealed decisions, the court upheld only 1 appeal.

According to the statistics (first 9 months of 2019) of the investigations launched by the Prosecutor's Office under Article 333, Part 3 of the Criminal Code, the rate of criminal prosecution is very low. In the investigations initiated by the Prosecutor's Office under Article 333, Part 3, Subparagraph B of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which consists of exceeding official authority via violence or using weapons, the criminal proceedings were instituted against only 3 persons, which is only 1.6% of the cases.

At the presentation it was emphasized that based on the findings, relevant recommendations have been prepared for relevant government agencies.

The report was prepared in the framework of the EU-supported project Fighting Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia, which GYLA has been implementing since February 2018 together with the Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture (GCRT).