Rule 9(2) submission to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: Tkhelidze group of cases

The European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Union Sapari and the International Partnership for Human Rights, lodged a submission pursuant to Rule 9(2) of the Committee of Ministers’ Rules for the Supervision of the Execution of Judgments in the Tkhelidze group of cases.

This group of cases consists of the first two femicide judgments against Georgia. Both cases are representative of the systemic discrimination by the law enforcement authorities in Georgia in failing to adequately respond to protect victims of domestic violence, and State’s failure to investigate the law enforcement authorities’ inaction (violations of Article 2 in its substantive positive and procedural limbs taken in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention).

The submission provides an initial update on the status of individual measures, including on the obligation to effectively investigate. It further lists a number of general measures necessary to be taken by the State as part of effectively implementation of this group of cases.

The submission also includes the following recommendations:

Effective prevention of and response to domestic violence:

  • Ensure full and verbatim recording and storage of statements by victims when reporting incidents of domestic violence. To this end, consider audio/video recording of the victim.
  • Ensure that reports of separate incidents in relation to the same victim and perpetrator are collated and referred to when a new complaint is made.
  • Require and ensure police thoroughly and rigorously fill out the risk-assessment checklists (including consideration of trigger factors) and decide on necessary protective measures accordingly, and ensure monitoring and quality control of this recommendation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • Apply electronic monitoring bracelets more actively and ensure that victims, the police and the public are properly informed about the aim and benefits of this measure (as opposed to their use being discouraged by misinformation);
  • Ensure investigation of discriminatory motive for all femicide cases.

Effective response to failures to prevent femicide:

  • Incorporate the definition of femicide into Article 4 of the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of Violence against Women and/or Domestic Violence, and the Protection and Support of Victims of Such Violence;
  • Establish an inter-agency femicide review mechanism, which, taking into account the recommendations of and in collaboration with the Femicide Watch at the Public Defender’s Office, will examine and report on how each incident of femicide was handled at each stage of the criminal justice system and social support services, including: whether the authorities (be it the law enforcement or social service agency) were aware of the risks, whether they took all necessary measures, why they were unable to prevent the femicide and what should be the learnings for preventing and properly responding to future incidents;
  • Ensure that police and prosecutors are investigated and held accountable for failures to prevent and respond to domestic violence and consequential femicide and that any discriminatory bias informing their inaction is revealed and addressed.

Read the submission here.