National frameworks to address hate crime in Georgia

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Georgia. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Georgia's hate crime report page.

Hate crime recording and data collection

Employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are instructed to immediately initiate investigations when they suspect that an offence might have been motivated by bias, in line with provisions of Article 53 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The Department of Human Rights Protection and Investigation Quality Monitoring examines crime reports and criminal investigation cases through an electronic program of investigation, and generates statistical data about criminal offences involving an element of discrimination.

There are two mechanisms used to monitor cases: one is an internal control mechanism – an electronic program used by the Department of Human Rights Protection and Investigation Quality Monitoring to monitor the quality of investigations on a daily basis; and the other is an external control mechanism, through which information on particular incidents and cases is reported by civil society and other organizations via a dedicated email account.

The Department identifies hate crimes and monitors relevant cases provided that the initial investigation identifies the following bias indicators:

  • Perception of the victim, witness or perpetrator that the institute was motivated by bias;
  • Victim belongs to a minority group and/or is associated with such a group;
  • Pictures, symbols and inscriptions depicted at the crime scene;
  • Ethnic, national, religious, and cultural differences between the perpetrator and the victim;
  • Perpetrator's participation in, or association with, an organized, hate-motivated criminal group;
  • The location and timing of the crime;
  • The nature of the crime and the means applied in the process of committing this crime; and
  • The nature and frequency of past crimes and incidents committed by the (alleged) perpetrator.

Alleged hate crimes are registered through a special spreadsheet by the Department in accordance with the articles of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The spreadsheet also contains a reference to a specific indicator to identify a bias motive. Bias motivations listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 53 (1) of Georgia's Criminal Code (namely: "race", colour, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, citizenship, nationality, ethnic affiliation, and origin) are then monitored. The Ministry of Internal Affairs does not monitor cases that do not contain a criminal element.

The Department further developed a recommendation on the "Identification and Effective Investigation of Crimes Committed with the Motive of Intolerance on the Grounds of Discrimination." The recommendation provides a definition of hate crime, a methodology for the investigation and identification of the motive, and circumstances to consider when clarifying the bias motive. The document was distributed to the territorial bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Department of Human Rights Protection of the General Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for collecting and analysing data on hate crimes. Following a General Prosecutor order in 2022, all prosecution service employees are obliged to notify the Department on any decisions related to hate crimes and the status of victims.

The Department has developed a spreadsheet (Ms-Excel format) used to record and analyse statistical data on hate crimes. The spreadsheet includes basic information about the case, including the legal qualification, discriminatory motive, intersectional discrimination, and prosecution decisions and legal grounds thereof, as well as information about the victim, including any disabilities. Information included in the spreadsheet is sent by email to the Department of Human Rights Protection within five days of taking a decision on the prosecution of the case or status of the victim.

In the electronic investigation program, a new function was added to indicate one or more bias motivations in several procedural documents issued by the prosecutors. The bias motive can also be indicated in cases when a prosecutor refused to launch the prosecution.

As of 2022, the Prosecutor's Office has issued six recommendations related to hate crimes:

  1. Recommendation to apply Article 53 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia prescribing a hate motive as an aggravating circumstance;
  2. Recommendation on the legal qualification of hate crimes motivated by an anti-religious bias;
  3. Recommendation to investigate cases involving persons with disabilities;
  4. Recommendation on the "Effective Investigation of and Procedural Guidance over the Crimes Committed against Human Rights Defenders";
  5. Recommendation on "Standards and methods of working with a witness, a victim and a defendant with disabilities"; and
  6. Recommendation on "Standards and methods of working with a minor witness/victim/defendant with disabilities".

In addition, a special "Human Rights" tab was added to the official website of the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, with an independent subtab on "hate crimes". These pages present hate crime analysis for recent years in Georgian and in English prepared.

In the judicial system, the Analytical Department of the Supreme Court of Georgia collects and processes judicial statistics, including on hate crime cases, and is responsible for ensuring that judicial statistics are made public.

When a bias motive is mentioned in the indictment, a dedicated box is ticked in the court’s statistical card along with the specific bias motivation. Depending on the outcome of the case, the bias motive (or lack thereof) is also indicated on the statistical card of the adjudicated case record. If the court determines that the crime was committed with a bias motive, or if the motive of intolerance is highlighted as an aggravating circumstance, the assistant judge fills out a specific form on the bias motivation together with the statistical card of the adjudicated case record.

All statistical cards completed by the assistant judge (regarding both received and adjudicated cases) are occasionally submitted to the court registry. The registry staff member transfers data of these cards into the Excel file of the criminal case management; each month this file is sent to the statistics sector of the Supreme Court of Georgia, where the data of the files received from all district (city) courts are monitored and the mentioned files are merged. Preliminary data on hate crimes can be processed from a consolidated Excel file if necessity occurs. However, at the end of each reporting year, the statistics are processed for the joint report after comparing and collating the data provided by the Prosecutor's Office and the data available in the statistics sector of the Supreme Court, as well as, if necessary, after monitoring particular cases by consulting the judgments. The courts do not have a common electronic case management program together with the Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the judiciary lacks technical means to flag hate crimes and comprehensively manage case files.

Based on a memorandum of co-operation signed in September 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are obliged to share information on data defined in the memorandum's Annex during the reporting period (twice a year). The Ministry of Internal Affairs is required to report data on criminal investigations, disaggregated by the bias motivations included in criminal code provisions. The General Prosecutor's Office is required to report data on decisions to initiate/not initiate a prosecution and/or to terminate investigations and prosecutions and other actions, disaggregated by bias motivations. The Supreme Court collects and reports data on the number of persons convicted, the types of punishment imposed, and the application of the aggravating sentencing provision, disaggregated by bias motivations. Data provided by all bodies must be disaggregated geographically.  

Hate crime victim support

There is no general victim support system in Georgia. Specific support dedicated to hate crime victims does not exist.

A Witness and Victim Co-ordinator Service exists within the Prosecutor's Office. The office facilitates victims' and witnesses' involvement in the investigation and proceedings by providing information, communicating between the parties, accompanying the victim or witness to court (when requested) and arranging meetings with prosecutors. Additionally, the office provides some psychological help and assistance in obtaining accommodation, rehabilitation services and free legal aid. A referral mechanism is also in place. There are also specialized prosecutors across the country dealing with hate crime cases. Co-ordinators are primarily involved in cases related to hate-motivated crime, in addition to cases where the victim and/or witness is a disabled person, the victim/witness suffered serious physical and moral damage as a result of the crime and/or the crime-related stress makes it difficult to communicate with the victim/ witness. Individual assessments of victims' needs are not conducted in Georgia.

The witness and victim co-ordinator may participate in criminal proceedings based on a decision of the prosecutor. There is some evidence to suggest that victims of hate crime sometimes face problems related to their victim status and accessing their case file.

The Prosecutor's Office has developed a guidebook for the witness and victim co-ordinators and prosecutors. The guidebook includes practical recommendations on the inclusion of a co-ordinator in cases related to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, the functions, rights and obligations of the witness and victim co-ordinators, and the priorities of the Co-ordinator Service.

In 2019, in order to protect the interests of victims and witnesses and to avoid re-victimization and secondary victimization, a Witness and Victim Co-ordinator Service was also established at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Since 2021, the investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has been authorized to involve a co-ordinator in the criminal case at their own decision before the case is brought to court. The co-ordinator prioritizes communication with the victims of hate crimes, domestic violence and violence against women. The co-ordinator is invited to communicate with the victim and/or witness based on the decision of an investigator, with the goal of evaluating the emotional state of an individual, identifying their needs and providing appropriate services. The co-ordinator is authorized to speak to a victim/witness, to attend the investigative and procedural actions that require the victim's/witness's attendance, and to attend victim/witness interrogation in court.

The rights of all victims include being informed about the charges brought against the perpetrator and procedural actions, giving a testimony, obtaining copies of main documents, being indemnified for expenses incurred as a result of participation in the proceedings, recovering their own property, requesting application of special protection measures, being informed on the progress of investigation, obtaining information about measures of restraint applied to the perpetrator, reviewing materials of the case, requesting a closed hearing, and receiving information about their rights and obligations. Victims of all crimes can claim compensation in the course of civil – but not criminal – proceedings.

Hate crime capacity building

Georgia implemented ODIHR's Training Against Hate Crime for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) programme in 2019. Following the training-of-trainers, the programme's training sessions are delivered to police officers are organized on a regular basis. There is also a basic training course on human rights for police officers and a course to strengthen the qualifications of police investigators.   

Since 2020, specialized investigators and prosecutors of the Prosecutor's Office exercise official hate crime duties, including conducting investigations within the Prosecutor's Office, supervising investigation procedures, and supporting the state prosecution in court. The Professional Development Center (Division) of the General Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, in co-operation with the Department of Human Rights Protection, conducts a specialized course for prosecutors and investigators of the Prosecutor's Office on hate crimes.

Georgia implemented ODIHR's Prosecutors and Hate Crime Training Programme (PAHCT) in 2017. The training programme was revised in 2020 with support from the Council of Europe as part of a project to combat discrimination, hate crime and hate speech in Georgia. The updated training programme is a mandatory basic component for all specialized investigators and prosecutors of the Prosecutor's Office. In addition, materials on hate crimes are integrated into a training course undertaken by interns prior to their appointment as an intern-prosecutor or intern-investigator.

The High School of Justice is involved in the training process for judges and other officials of the judiciary. It conducts sessions focusing on hate crimes.