To the government of Georgia:
* Reinstate the right in the criminal procedure code to allow those under criminal investigation to obtain judicial review of complaints without undue delay;
* Reinstate the right of those summoned as witnesses in criminal investigations to appear with counsel;
· Ensure immediate, unimpeded access to impartial forensic medical examinations for detainees, and for all other individuals, regardless of whether they are in detention, who wish to substantiate a report of abuse by a law enforcement or other official;
* Allow all detainees the right to be visited and treated by their own doctor from the moment they are in custody, in accordance with the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
* To combat incommunicado detention, include provisions in the criminal procedure code and the Georgian Law on Imprisonment explicitly stating that pre-trial detainees have the right to be visited by family members and friends, and that family members or others designated by detainees must be notified immediately of any transfer of a detainee from one facility to another;
* Amend the Georgian Law on Imprisonment to allow detainees in pre-trial detention facilities the right to make and receive telephone calls, and receive and send correspondence subject only to such restrictions and supervision as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and the security and good order of the institution, as called for under international standards. Family members and others should be allowed to appeal to a court of law a decision denying them the right to visit a detainee;
* Amend the code to clarify that persons detained are entitled to prompt access to a lawyer of their choosing and ensure that this right is fully respected in practice;
· Enact measures to ensure that, for those detainees who cannot afford a lawyer, legal counsel will be provided free of charge, and take necessary steps to ensure that such counsel will be free from government interference and will genuinely represent the interests of their clients;
* Make explicit in the code that the defendant or his lawyer may call a doctor or any other witness to testify at any stage in the criminal proceedings, including at hearings on the lawfulness of detention, about the detainee's condition or treatment during detention;
* Amend the code to guarantee that all criminal trials, including hearings to review the lawfulness of detention, and hearings to extend the length of pre-trial detention, are open to the public;
* Amend the criminal procedure code to make explicit that the procuracy is obligated to notify the detainee, his or her lawyer, and family members of a hearing on the lawfulness of detention, and of all hearings to extend pre-trial detention, and that advance notice of the time and date of such hearings must be publicly posted;
* Reinstate the rights of all those such as civil plaintiffs, witnesses, victims, those giving expert testimony, court translators and those providing signed statements regarding the results of a search by law enforcement to submit a complaint regarding irregularities or abuses prior to trial to a court of law without undue delay;
* Review all past convictions based on confessions allegedly made under torture, as recommended by the U.N. Human Rights Committee in its April 1997 concluding observations on Georgia's initial report on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and
* Make public the results of all investigations, and systematically and impartially investigate all complaints of ill-treatment and torture, and bring to justice those found responsible for abuses.
To the World Bank:
Since 1992, the World Bank has provided the Georgian government with an estimated U.S.$507 million in credits to assist in economic restructuring efforts in a wide variety of areas including tax collection, privatization, and the health and energy sectors.103 In June 1999, the World Bank allocated $13.4 million of these credits for reform of the judiciary. The project calls for strengthened administration of the court system through training of administrators, improved management of the court's case-load through computerization, and improvement of the Ministry of Justice's capacity to enforce judgments. The project also envisions a system of audio recording to ensure the integrity of court protocols, and the physical rehabilitation of court buildings and other facilities.104
In an April 1998 assessment of the Georgian judiciary, the World Bank expressed a commitment to fostering increased public trust and respect for the judiciary, and to ensuring that the benefits of its lending will be of broad benefit to the public.105 For instance, with regard to access to justice, the Bank recommended that a widespread public awareness and education campaign about the role of law and the judiciary in a modern society be conducted. We welcome the Bank's work to strengthen the judiciary and stated commitment to improved access to justice, and therefore recommend that:
* Reform of the office of the procuracy, and adoption of criminal procedures meeting international standards, including prompt access to judicial authorities to hear complaints of abuse, be adopted as a base policy trigger for future structural adjustment lending in the World Bank's Country Assistance Strategy;
* The Bank expand its capacity to conduct analysis of judicial systems and of criminal procedure to enable it to identify provisions in legislation that are not in compliance with international human rights law and standards, and to assist in the formulation of lending targets in these areas;
* The Bank expand coordination with other international organizations-such as the Council of Europe-that are active in the fields of legal reform and governance to ensure that engagement of these organizations is mutually supportive;
· We urge that as a part of on-going work on judicial reform, the Bank work with Georgian authorities to ensure that notices regarding all scheduled court proceedings be publicly posted in court houses in advance of the proceedings, and that past records of all such schedules be kept on file and be made available to all members of the public.
To the Council of Europe:
Georgia gained admission to the Council of Europe on April 27, 1999. Shortly after Georgia's accession, approximately half of the provisions in the new code were amended or replaced.
We recommend that the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly:
* Adopt a resolution deploring the current widespread torture and physical abuse of detainees in pre-trial detention, and urging Georgia to enact reform of the office of the procuracy, to adopt complaints procedures that allow effective and timely judicial review of complaints, and to adopt other recommendations in this report;
* Make the future admission of all new member states conditional on having already fully and effectively implemented important legislation such as the criminal procedure code that meets international standards, rather than promises that such reforms will be adopted and implemented after accession;
* Establish a Council of Europe representation office in Tbilisi with a mandate to monitor developments in legal reform and advise the government of Georgia on issues related to conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. The office should also strive to coordinate its work with organizations such as the European Union, the OSCE, and international financial institutions, and provide information to the public and Georgian nongovernmental organizations on the European Convention, European Court of Human Rights, and standards developed in its case law;
* We urge the Committee for the Prevention of Torture as a matter of priority to examine impediments in law and practice to obtaining judicial review of complaints of torture and other procedural violations; and
* We urge the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to examine the findings and recommendations contained in this report, to raise the problem of access to justice in his on-going dialogue with the government of Georgia, and to work with the government to develop a program of action to address this problem.
To the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
* We urge the OSCE mission in Georgia to issue a public statement deploring the current widespread torture and physical abuse of detainees in pre-trial detention, and to urge the government to reform the office of the procuracy and adopt procedural rights during criminal investigations that meet international standards;
* In light of the findings in this report regarding pre-trial complaints, review the Georgian Law on the Ombudsman and advise the government of Georgia of any measures needed to strengthen the ombudsman's powers in law relating to the handling of complaints prior to trial; and
* We urge the OSCE to invite its Advisory Panel of Experts on the Prevention of Torture to scrutinize the findings contained in this report and to advise the OSCE and the government of Georgia on measures to improve access to justice for victims of torture and other abuse.
To the European Union:
A Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the E.U. and Georgia, which was signed in 1996 and is conditioned on the Georgian government's demonstration of respect for human rights, went into force in mid-1999 afterratification by the parliaments of all E.U. member states. President Eduard Shevardnadze was reported to have issued a statement in November 1999 calling for Georgia's early admission as a full member of the E.U.106
The E.U. provides significant technical and humanitarian assistance to Georgia, and Georgia participates in large regional projects including the Traceca and Inogate programs, which are intended to promote regional integration and to develop transportation and communication routes. In addition, the E.U. funds a number of projects intended to support development of rule of law and respect for human rights, and European Commission representational staff routinely raise issues in private with government officials regarding the compatibility of legislation with the European Convention and other international standards.
Georgia's economy suffered one of the most severe collapses of any of the former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.Without significantly strengthening the legal institutions necessary to ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights, Georgia is unlikely to establish a secure investment climate to attract significant domestic or foreign investment, to achieve sustainable long term economic development, or to meet other requirements to become a full member of the European Union.
Effective legal institutions, including further judicial oversight of the procuracy and other law enforcement agencies and security forces during criminal investigations, are essential to combat corruption and to improve the investment climate. As such, we recommend that the E.U. maximize its considerable leverage to bring about significant improvements in the legal institutions by:
* Making clear that further economic assistance, including that provided under the Traceca, which is unrelated to humanitarian needs and not intended to promote respect for rule of law and human rights, is conditional on the Georgian government's reform of the office of the procuracy, and adoption of criminal procedures that meet international standards and allow for effective judicial review of complaints;
* Making clear to the government of Georgia that failure to take meaningful steps to curb widespread physical abuse and torture, and that its repeal of basic safeguards of criminal procedure and access to justice, threatens the continued viability of its partnership and cooperation agreement, which is conditioned on respect for fundamental human rights;
* The European Parliament should adopt a resolution urging Georgia to reform the office of the procuracy, and its criminal procedures, and make clear that Georgia's poor human rights record and unwillingness to strengthen the legal institutions necessary to ensure respect for the rule of law jeopardizes its candidacy for membership in the E.U. This message should also be emphasized in the European Parliament's interparliamentary dialogue with Georgia.
To member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and others engaged in bilateral security cooperation with Georgia:
The U.S. government, NATO member states and other allies, concerned with Georgia's strategic location bordering Russia and with ensuring Georgia's stability to provide security for the transport of oil and natural gas from the Caspian region, have become increasingly involved in training and suppling the Georgian security forces.
The U.S. government considers developments in Georgia to be a matter of U.S. national security interests, and administration officials, in seeking miliary and economic assistance from Congress for activities in Georgia, have stated, "U.S. national security interests are at stake in Georgia where regional and local instability threatens Georgia'sevolution toward a democratic and free market state."107 In outlining the importance of Georgia's strategic location, they further noted that, "A stable, independent Georgia will reduce chances of military conflict in a region bordering Russia, Turkey, and Iran, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the spread of international crime." Moreover, related to Georgia's strategic military location, is its status as a gateway for oil and gas development in the Caspian region. U.S. policy makers have stated, "Georgia is located astride the principal export route for energy and natural resources from the Caspian area and Central Asia, and a liberal economic environment in Georgia is critical to allowing the free flow of trade to and from these regions."
Georgia is currently a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and Georgian President Shevardnadze has said that he intends to seek full membership in NATO by the year 2005, although more recent statements indicate that it is possible that Georgia may even attempt to join even earlier.108 The Partnership for Peace Framework Documents signed by member countries includes a commitment by NATO to consult with any country that perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security.109 In its public statements, NATO maintains that membership in the Partnership for Peace initiative is strengthening security in numerous ways, including that, "it is strengthening democratic control of defense forces."110
Meanwhile, the U.S. engages in bilateral security cooperation with Georgia. President Shevardnadze was reported to have stated that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has, and continues, to "provide significant assistance" to the Presidential Guard, officially known as the Special State Security Service, through training of its staff.111 Other U.S. security assistance includes International Military and Education and Training (IMET) programs and provision of Excess Defense Articles on a grant basis intended to enhance NATO interoperability. The U.S. also provides assistance to the Georgian Border Guard intended to allow Georgia to take control of its borders, while assistance is also provided to support the U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia to assist in resolution of the Abkhaz conflict. The Clinton Administration proposed $36.1 million in fiscal year 2000 to continue such activities.112 Training takes place in the United States, and in Georgia at a number of facilities including in Kojori, Poti, and Lilo.113
We therefore recommend that the U.S. government and other countries that are engaged in bilateral security cooperation:
* make any further security assistance, including training activities and provision of equipment or weaponry to any staff of any security or law enforcement body that is empowered to carry out an inquiry or preliminary investigation into alleged crimes, conditional on the Georgian government's reform of the office of the procuracy, which includes adoption of criminal procedures that allow for effective and prompt judicial review of complaints of procedural violations during criminal investigations. Such conditionality should exclude activities intended to support the U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia;
* ensure that any future assistance provided to Georgian law enforcement agencies or other security forces intended to build capacity to collect and analyze forensic evidence is specifically conditioned on the Georgian government'sprovision of unimpeded access to prompt and impartial forensic medical examinations for all detainees from the moment they are in custody, and for all other individuals, whether in detention or not, who wish to substantiate a report of abuse by a law enforcement or other official.
103 "World Bank Approves U.S.$114.9 million for Georgia," World Bank news release No. 99/2288/ECA, June 29, 1999, available via the internet at www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/extme/2288.htm.
105 "Georgia Judicial Assessment," April 10, 1998, Legal Department, Europe and Central Asia Region, World Bank. Report No. 17356-GE.
106 "Georgia May Become a Member of the European Union Much Earlier Than Expected, Eduard Shevardnadze Says," Caucasus Press, November 27, 1999.
107 "Georgia," U.S. Secretary of State: Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations for Fiscal Year 2000, Government Printing Office, p. 656.
108 "Georgia Studies NATO Membership Application Procedure, Georgian Foreign Minister Says," Caucasus Press, December 28, 1999. President Shevardnadze is quoted in the report as stating, "it does not matter whether Georgia knocks at NATO's doors a bit earlier or later than the appointed year, 2005," The article noted that Shevardnadze had previously stated that should he be reelected in 2000, "Georgia will knock at NATO's door by 2005."
109 Cited in "The Partnership for Peace Initiative," in NATO Documents: Extending Security in the Euro-Atlantic Area, available via the internet at www.nato.int/docu/ext-sec/s-pfp.htm.
110 NATO Documents, Ibid.
111 "Shevardnadze Says CIA Helps Protect Him," Agence France Presse, March 6, 2000.
112 "Georgia," Congressional Presentation FY 2000.pg. 656.
113 "Activities Reported Pursuant to Requirements of Section 581 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1999, As Enacted in P.L. 105-277."