Amnesty International: Criminal justice system reform should be new Georgian gov’t top priority

The statement released by Amnesty International mentions high-profile cases of Saralidze, Machalikashvili and Mukhtarli. Photo:, 18 Jun 2018 - 17:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Amnesty International, a London-based non-governmental organisation focused on human rights, says that the reform of the country’s criminal justice system, including the creation of an independent mechanism to investigate alleged human rights violations by police, should be the top priority of Georgia’s new government.

The public statement of Amnesty International released today, also mentions high-profile cases of two teenage boys killed in Tbilisi last year and Pankisi anti-terrorist raid.

 Recent murder trial exposes lack of trust in criminal justice system and leads to protests,” Amnesty International reads about the teenagers’ murder case. 

Speaking about the murder of Temirlan Machalikashvili during the Pankisi raid, the statement reads that the Georgian authorities were slow and reluctant to launch an investigation into his killing, but did so eventually. 

At the time of writing, no tangible outcomes of the investigation have been reported,” Amnesty International reports. 

The statement reads that the Georgian government should ensure that a truly independent mechanism for the investigation of abuses by police and other state officials is created without delay, and that all concerns about the independence and effectiveness of such a mechanism are addressed.

 To ensure that investigation of crimes by law enforcement officials complies with the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights, the mechanism should conform to the five principles of independence, adequacy, promptness, public scrutiny and victim involvement, and should have no hierarchical or institutional links with the police or government,” the statement says. 

The NGO claims that the Georgia’s new government should also take all necessary steps to address the credibility deficit in the country’s criminal justice system more widely. 

Amnesty Internal states that such steps should strengthen the impartiality, independence and integrity of all investigators within existing criminal justice system agencies, and assist them to develop relevant skills for effective investigation.