01:35, Tuesday, 20.03.2018
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Femicide – hate crime and alarming statistics


Lana Giorgidze

“Reportedly, a man killed his wife in Agmashenebeli Avenue, Tbilisi. The investigation started under Article 108 of the GCC, premeditated murder committed based on domestic violence. The press-center does not report additional details.”

“A man killed his wife in one of the regions of Georgia and then committed suicide. MIA reports the investigation started under Article 108, premeditated murder and Article 115, bringing a person to the point of suicide, of the GCC. The couple had children.”

In Tamarisi village, Bolnisi municipality a man killed his wife - 1tv.ge reported. The man, born in 1989, killed his 24-years-old wife with knife. Reportedly, the husband saw a text message in the mobile phone of the wife and it became reason of the murder. 

According to the Public Defender of Georgia, in the first nine months of 2017, 22 women were killed in Georgia; 13 of them were identified as victims of domestic violence. The PDO does not exclude that the women in all other cases too were killed based on gender motive. 

As the deputy public defender Eka Skhiladze told Netgazeti besides the murder cases, there are many attempted murder cases too. According to the PDO, from January to September in 2017, 11 attempted murders were recorded, 8 of them were linked to domestic violence. 

Nongovernmental organization Sapari reports that violence against women includes wider specter – starting from verbal harassment and other forms of emotional violence, ending with daily physical or sexual harassment. These actions lead us towards femicide. The term femicide means premediated murder of a woman because she is a woman. 

In accordance to the publication of the Safari – “Femicide – hate crime and state responsibility to fight against it”, in Europe, deaths of 3 500 persons per year are linked to intimae-partnership relations that makes 9 killed persons a day. According to those data, 7 out of 9 persons are women.

As the Criminal Code of Georgia does not clarify the femicide, the representatives of the PDO believe it is important to include its clarification in the law. By doing that, the state will recognize the significance of this crime and femicide cases will be evaluated as the crime committed under aggravating circumstances. 

On May 3, 2016, the Republic Party addressed the Parliament of Georgia with the initiative to clarify the notion of the femicide in the GCC. According to the draft law, Article 1081 was to be added to the GCC, which referred to the premeditated murder of a woman by a husband, a former husband, a partner, a former partner or other family member that is punishable by imprisonment from 11 to 14 years in length. On June 10, 2016 this draft law was rejected – only 48 MPs voted for it and 1 MP was against it; 50 votes were necessary for the approval. The Republicans addressed the Parliament with the legislative initiative about femicide in January 2017 too. The amendments included gender-based violence as aggravating circumstances but the Committee of Legal Issues did not support the bill.

NGOs also agree that the femicide shall be clarified in the GCC.

“Criminal law legislation does not recognize the femicide as a crime. All murders do not mean femicide. It is necessary to identify the gender motive. The only case, when the liability is aggravated, is Article 531 according to which if a murder was committed based on discriminative motive, the liability shall be aggravated. Judge considers the Article 531 but he/she cannot aggravate the liability based on his/her initiative unless the prosecutor indicates at the gender motive of the murder. However, prosecutors usually forget to indicate it and this motive was mentioned only in several cases. Consequently, the court does not refer to this article and the gender motive is not identified in the stage of investigation either; they do not know how to conduct the investigation to determine the gender motive. Considering that, the court judgments do not define gender motive and they indicate only at the crimes committed based on domestic violence that is another aggravating circumstance. If the gender motive is identified, it is wider notion because any person may commit a crime against a woman and domestic violence is a very narrow definition as it refers only to family members,” the lawyer of the nongovernmental organization Partnership for Human Rights Ana Tavkhelidze said. 
Human Rights Department of the MIA

On January 23, 2018 the Ministry of Internal Affairs presented the human rights department. The Minister Giorgi Gakharia opened the presentation and said defense of human rights is the priority of their ministry. 

“Human Rights Department was established on January 11, 2018 and it will monitor ongoing investigations into the cases of domestic violence, violence against women, hate crimes, trafficking, crimes committed by and against minors and will monitor administrative proceedings. The department will identify the miscarriages, elaborate recommendations to eradicate those miscarriages and implement them in practice. The purpose of the department in the MIA is to reduce and prevent above-listed crimes in near future,” the Minister said.

Department “112” of the MIA created a new mobile application “112”, which enables citizens to send silent messages to operators. According to the MIA, any individual in the territory of Georgia can download and use this application. This application will enable the women, victims of violence and not only them to immediately inform the operator about the harasser. 
Lawyer Ana Tavkhelidze of the PHR said the new department of the MIA promised the society to carry out reform and build capacity of the investigators. “Consequently, the NGOs hope they will take effective steps.”

Problem of competence or professional negligence?

Although the MIA is implementing amendments in the field of violence prevention and protection of human rights, the execution of the law is important issue. 

“Human Rights Center is working on several cases of femicide but I will single out two of them. One of them happened in 2016 and the second in 2017. In the first case, the police officers did not take adequate measures and neglected their professional duties. 20-years-old girl was killed by her husband in front of her underage brother; before the murder the girl had several times reported to the police about the threats coming from her husband but the police officers just warned the harasser and did not issue restraining order. The investigation into this case is still ongoing. We request punishment of the police officers, whom the victim had applied to for help but they did not perform their professional duties. As for the second case, mother of 4 children was suffocated by her former husband and the police again acted inadequately. The victim had applied to the police for 12 times and reported that the former husband was threatening her. He had even attempted to burn the wife and children. The police did not take any measures that finally ended up with the murder,” head of the legal aid service at Human Rights Center Tamar Avaliani said.

She added that as a result of NGO engagement, the MIA started campaign against the violence against women. However, as Avaliani said, issuing restraining orders is still a problem and the police officers still give only verbal warnings to the harassers. 

NGO Sapari believes for the prevention of femicide, the state shall substantially study and analyze the femicide and other gender-based crimes. 

“As a rule, individuals are committing gender-based violence and not the state. One of the obstacles for the elimination of this problem is that legislations of many countries do not recognize violence between men and women as crime but as domestic conflict which shall be addressed without state involvement. Several international instruments estimated that violence against women, including domestic violence, is not only inter-state problem and it may raise international responsibility of the state. The international law is eventually recognizing positive obligation of the state to involve and prevent violence against woman, investigate and start criminal liability against similar cases and elaborate procedural measures, among them to response discriminative attitudes and stereotypes to better protect the victims of violence,” the publication of the NGO Sapari reads.

Sapari calls on the state to announce zero tolerance towards the violence against women and carry out respective campaign; also the state shall investigate the suicide cases of the women in respect of gender aspects and estimate real causes of bringing her to the point of suicide. The information exchange system between the law enforcement bodies shall be improved so that the territorial units and different structures could proactively exchange information, particularly with regard to past criminal record of the harasser, history of restraining and protective orders issued on him and more.

According to the recommendations of the Human Rights Center it is necessary to supervise conscientiously and proper implementation of the requirements of the national and international laws by the police officers and prosecutors in relation to the cases of domestic violence and violence against women; the district police inspectors of police units shall organize regular meetings with the population of their respective districts to inform and raise awareness of the people about violence against women and domestic violence and more. In addition to that, in the report “Rights of Women, Religious and Ethnic Minorities, 2017” Human Rights Center recommends the Parliament of Georgia to create a special separate provision on femicide in the Criminal Code of Georgia. 

Besides abovementioned recommendations, the NGOs call on the state, to elaborate better legislative system so that the victim and her family was provided with adequate legal protection mechanisms.

This article was prepared in the frame of the project “Support to the Prevention of Violence against Women in Georgia, which is implemented by Human Rights Center with financial support of the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi under Democracy Commission Small Grants Program. The contents of this article are those of the Human Rights Center and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of State.

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