Chapter 3 of the Governmental Action Plan on Human Rights almost entirely concerns the reforms and activities aimed at securing human rights in the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
The objectives of Chapter 3 concern the rights of persons placed in temporary detention isolators (TDIs); improvement of material conditions, hygiene and nutrition; adequate use of coercive measures and ensuring transparent policing; improvement of the response mechanism to violations and introduction of high standards of human rights protection in the law-enforcement system.
In general, the efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia towards the achievement of the above objectives can be positively assessed. Numerous activities were carried out in the above directions. This improves the human rights protection standards in the law-enforcement system.
In the reporting period, numerous activities were carried out towards the improvement of material conditions of persons placed in TDIs: the buildings were renovated and medical units were arranged. However, some isolators still fail to comply with established standards as toilet areas are not isolated and there are no outdoor areas arranged. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, it is planned to renovate all TDIs. We hope that within the planned renovation, the existing problems will be resolved and material/sanitary conditions in each TDI will comply with international standards.
It is also commendable that access to medical services are ensured in all TDIs. Furthermore, it is planned to staff each TDI with medical personnel, which, under conditions of appropriate vocational training, will positively affect the accessibility of medical services and their quality. There are still problems in terms of documenting injuries. For solving this problem, it is necessary to provide TDIs with medical personnel and ensure their intensive and periodic training on the methodology determined by the Istanbul Protocol.
Unfortunately, at this stage, the provision of TDI population with adequate food remains problematic. However, according to the ministry, it is planned to solve this problem partially by the end of 2019 – instead of dried meals, some TDIs will serve boiled food.
In the reporting period, the procedure for storing and processing information received from body cameras was determined. However, despite the Public Defender’s recommendation, it is still not obligatory for the patrol police officers to make video recordings when communicating with citizens. This change would be important for identifying and documenting the incidents of ill-treatment and creating appropriate safeguards for police officers.
In the reporting period, numerous police stations were equipped with video cameras. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the first half of 2019, this was done throughout Georgia. Unfortunately, the rules about functioning of the video cameras are undetermined to this day. Although, according to the ministry, the respective legislative amendment is already drafted.
It is commendable that the police academy’s curriculum incorporates human rights, equality principles and the methods of the use of force as a mandatory part of the programme. It is also desirable to ensure regular and mandatory retraining of active police officers on these issues. This would improve human rights standards and prevent the use of excessive force.
In the reporting period, numerous activities were carried out to improve the mechanism of identification and eradication of violations by law-enforcement officials. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia submitted rather impressive statistics on the examined complaints and imposition of disciplinary penalties for violations identified as a result of inspections. The reform of the General Inspection is underway, which if successfully implemented, will considerably improve the existing situation.