Public Defender Submits another Communication to Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe

On September 5, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia submitted another communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The communication concerns the so-called Gharibashvili Group cases, in which the European Court of Human Rights instructed Georgia to resume investigation into the cases of torture, inhuman treatment and deprivation of life.

Fulfillment of the obligation by Georgia - the results of the investigation - will be considered at the session of the Committee of Ministers on September 19-22. The Committee of Ministers will also discuss the individual and general measures taken by Georgia, which serve effective investigation and prevention of the cases of torture and ill-treatment.

The Public Defender, as the national institution for monitoring human rights, used its opportunity through the communication and submitted information on the current situation to the Committee of Ministers. The document, in some respects, deals with the information already submitted to the Committee of Ministers by the Government of Georgia. It reviews both legislative and practical systemic problems. It is noteworthy that the Public Defender started to use the similar opportunity last year and this is his third communication submitted to the Committee of Ministers. Like the third one, the first communication concerned the legislative-institutional shortcomings in the effective and independent investigation of the cases of ill-treatment.

In particular, the document underlines the following important issues:

– It is necessary to establish an independent investigative mechanism due to the practical absence of institutional independence, which is substantiated by the analysis of the legislation;

– On the one hand, the new model of the election of the Chief Prosecutor and the Prosecutorial Council cannot guarantee independence and de-politicization of the Prosecutor's Office, and on the other hand, the model offered by the Public Defender has not been shared;

– Ineffective investigation is still a problem, which is proved by the practices of 2014-2017: in this period the Public Defender requested the launch of investigation into 60 cases, though no offender has yet been indentified in any of the cases;

– Some of the cases studied by the Public Defender clearly demonstrate inefficiency of the investigation;

– An offender has been identified only in one out of the 23 cases (including the cases of the so-called Gharibashvili Group), effective investigation of which was requested from Georgia, while investigation in other cases is still pending.

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