The police used excessive force in dispersing demonstrations. Evictions failed to meet international standards. The independence of the judiciary remained a concern.
The breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia held presidential elections on 26 August and 13 November respectively. The elections were declared illegitimate by the Georgian authorities and the international community. The elections in South Ossetia were accompanied by protests, reports of increased violence and harassment of opposition candidates.
Security and freedom of movement for civilians living in the conflict-affected areas remained a concern. Some progress towards greater security was made and detainees were exchanged under the internationally mediated Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, bringing together the Georgian and South Ossetian sides. However, incidents of shooting, injury and the detention of civilians for the alleged illegal crossing of the Administrative Boundary Line between South Ossetia and Georgia were reported throughout the year.
The right of internally displaced people to return to their original places of residence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia continued to be denied by the de facto authorities there.Top of page
The government prioritized the provision of adequate housing for some 247,000 people displaced after the armed conflicts in the 1990s and 2008. However, a government programme intended to provide them with more permanent housing led to several forced evictions, which violated domestic and international standards.
Hundreds of internally displaced families were affected by a series of forced evictions in Tbilisi. In most cases the evictions were carried out without adequate consultation, notice or access to legal remedies. Those evicted were offered alternative accommodation outside the capital, mainly in rural areas. Aspects of the right to adequate housing – such as access to employment and sustainable livelihoods – were not always respected.Top of page
Several protests during the course of the year were violently dispersed.
More than 105 demonstrators were arrested and later sentenced to up to two months’ imprisonment for resisting police. The families of the detained only learned of their arrest two days later, following inquiries made by the Ombudsperson.
The investigation into the death of two protesters, found on the roof of a shop close to the protest, concluded that they had died after being accidentally electrocuted. This version was contested by an alleged eyewitness, who claimed that he last saw one of the victims being taken into police custody.
An internal investigation conducted by the Ministry of the Interior into the 26 May events resulted in several administrative punishments and dismissal of four police officers for excessive use of force. However, no public, independent investigation was conducted and allegations of ill-treatment by police were not investigated.
The authorities had still failed to carry out effective investigations into allegations of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials during demonstrations in 2009 and 2007.Top of page
After visiting Georgia in June, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention raised concerns regarding aspects of the justice system, including the role of prosecutors, an extremely low acquittal rate and the excessive use of pre-trial detention.