NGOs respond to an incident of ill-treatment of citizens by the police - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

NGOs respond to an incident of ill-treatment of citizens by the police

03 July, 2015


We, the signatory organizations, express our utmost concern about an ethnically motivated incident of ill-treatment in a police station, which is shown in footage disseminated by the media yesterday evening. A lot of international treaties, as well as the Constitution and legislation of Georgia, directly prohibit such acts and require that the State prevent them and punish the perpetrators. Non-governmental organizations active in Georgia have studied and identified incidents of ill-treatment on many occasions. The past experience clearly demonstrates the necessity of prevention of torture and humiliating and degrading treatment, which largely depends on effective and independent investigation into such acts. We, non-governmental organizations, are actively working in this direction and have taken a number of measures aimed at studying independent investigative mechanisms in various countries and proposing models that are suitable for Georgia to the Government.

The footage disseminated on July 2, 2015, presumably shows an incident that took place on April 5, and, accordingly, law enforcement bodies were informed of it before. The Public Defender also responded in a relevant manner with the aim of launching an investigation into incident, though law enforcement bodies have yet to start studying the case to identify a possible crime committed by police officers on ethnic grounds. Due to the importance of the issue and the gravity of the violation, we believe that effective prevention requires that relevant state bodies take concrete measures. In particular:

  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia should immediately inform the public of the process of investigation, measures taken, and results that they have at this stage. At the same time, the Prosecutor’s Office should conduct the investigation swiftly and effectively, and the police officers involved in the incident should be brought to justice;
  • The Ministry of Corrections and Probation of Georgia should ensure the security of individuals mentioned in the recordings disseminated by the media;
  • The Public Defender of Georgia should regularly visit these individuals and check/monitor their security on the ground.

The public should be informed of the results of the investigation as soon as possible, in order to clearly demonstrate that the State has a zero-tolerance policy towards incidents of ill-treatment, especially in cases when such treatment takes place on the grounds of ethnicity and involves law enforcement officers. At the same time, it’s necessary to launch a possible criminal prosecution under a special article of the Criminal Code which accurately reflects the gravity of the composition of the crime committed.

In addition, we would like to call on the judiciary to apply imprisonment (as a measure of restraint) in as few cases as possible in relation to those prisoners who bear physical injuries and, in parallel, have stated that they were subjected to ill-treatment. An incident of ill-treatment should be assessed as new evidence or a counterbalancing factor for the application of imprisonment. Relevant law enforcement bodies should receive a clear signal from the judiciary that commission of ill-treatment will complicate or make it completely impossible to administer justice effectively.

In parallel with the aforementioned concrete recommendations, it is important that the public and stakeholders start working actively for the creation of an independent investigative mechanism. This will be a good means for effective investigation, and will also contribute to the enhancement of trust towards the police. Due to the politically sensitive nature of ill-treatment and crimes committed by law enforcement officers in general, there will always be a temptation not to investigate the composition of these crimes completely. For this reason, it is necessary that the public, political parties, and the authorities take active steps with the aim of creating an independent investigative mechanism. In new democracies like Georgia, introduction of this type of institution has no alternative, and it’s necessary to start taking relevant steps in this direction as soon as possible. Non-governmental and international organizations have developed a concrete basic draft law that ensures the creation of an independent investigative mechanism in Georgia. This draft law has been submitted to the Interagency Council, which takes measures against ill-treatment. Accordingly, we call upon the Government of Georgia to support the draft law and to ensure the creation of an independent investigative mechanism.


Open Society Georgia Foundation

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center

Transparency International Georgia

Georgian Democracy Initiative

Article 42 of the Constitution

Penal Reform International

Partnership for Human Rights

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information

Rehabilitation Initiative for Vulnerable Groups 

Media Development Fund

Tolerance and Diversity Institute

Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development

Global Initiative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi