Court, corruption, privacy - report of the UN Human Rights Committee on Georgia
Report of the UN Human Rights Committee on Georgia
Sexual minorities, hate speech and hate crimes
The report expresses concern over discrimination and violence against sexual minorities, and emphasizes that the violent events of July 5-6, 2021 have not been properly addressed and the organizers remain unpunished.
The Committee is concerned about “homophobic and transphobic rhetoric used with impunity by politicians, religious and other public figures.” The Committee also calls on the state to prevent discrimination and violence against sexual minorities and, accordingly, to investigate all such violations, punish perpetrators and compensate victims.
The Committee states that it is paying attention to reports of hate speech and crimes against minority groups, including women, ethnic and religious minorities, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people and migrants.
Violence against women
The UN Human Rights Committee further expresses concern about the reluctance of victims of violence against women, especially sexual violence, to report such cases, and the low level of prosecution and conviction, insufficient victim protection, and lack of psychological support.
Right to life, prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment
The report states that violations of the right to life, and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are also of concern. The report highlights the ineffectiveness of law enforcement and government in investigating the killing of 19-year-old inhabitant of the Pankisi Gorge, Temirlan Machalikashvili, in which police officers were involved.
A fair and independent court
The UN Human Rights Committee further expresses concern about the independence and fairness of the judiciary. They specify an opaque procedure of appointing judges, concentration of power in the Supreme Court, including the power to nominate and appoint judges.
Also of concern is the fact that the Supreme Court itself is the body that appoints and dismisses the independent inspector, “which could undermine the independence of the inspector’s office.”
The report also makes reference to allegations of politically motivated arrests and trials. One such case is that of Nika Melia, chairman of the largest opposition party, the United National Movement; the “Davitgaredzhi case” [arrest of two cartographers on charges of transferring Georgian territory to Azerbaijan — JAMnews]; and the arrest of former President Mikheil Saakashvili and denial of fair trial thereto.
Freedom of expression
The Committee’s report also addresses concerns about freedom of expression, including media polarization, attacks on journalists, human rights activists and government critics, intimidation, threats and harassment, and political influence in the National Communications Commission.
The Committee calls on the government to conduct an effective, independent and prompt investigation into the violence against journalists on July 5-6, 2021, and the kidnapping of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli in Tbilisi.
The Committee is concerned that, despite the establishment in 2015 of the Anti-Corruption Council, there are reports of impunity over corruption and bribery. The report highlights that the lack of effective investigation into cases of corruption, including those involving high-ranking officials, is a matter of concern.
The Human Rights Committee is concerned that the Public Defender’s recommendations are not followed up by public and private actors. The Committee calls on the state to implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations in both the public and private sectors.