Georgia Preparing to Ratify the Istanbul Convention

Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Meeting on ratifying Istanbul Convention
Photo: Ministry of Justice of Georgia
The Georgian Ministry of Justice has outlined a legislative package aimed at bringing existing laws and policies inline with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the 'Istanbul Convention').  The package of measures will move Georgia closer to ratification of the Convention.

The Ministry launched public consultations and debates regarding the above legislative changes a month ago. UN Women took the lead by establishing a working group focused on enhancing the legislative package. The working group produced a document detailing comments and suggestions regarding legislation relevant to the requirements of the Convention. The document has been presented to the Ministry of Justice for consideration.

During a meeting on 4th August at the Tbilisi Public Service Hall, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Tea Tsulukiani, stated that the UN Women initiative aimed at simplifying the procedure for issuing restraining orders, will be taken into consideration. In particular, the police should be able to issue restraining orders without court approval (as currently required) and therefore restraining orders would enter into force upon issuance. Such steps would significantly strengthen efforts to combat domestic violence.

It should be noted that the implementation of the aforementioned legislative package will address not only domestic violence but the issue of violence against women more broadly.

Moreover, a new 'stalking' article will be added to the Criminal Code of Georgia. 'Stalking' implies intentional conduct, such as repeated illegal shadowing; undesirable communication through telephone, electronic or other means; or any other conduct causing fear or suffering which forces a person to considerably change lifestyle or makes such changes necessary.

Forced sterilization, i.e. performing surgery, which has the purpose or effect of terminating a woman’s capacity to naturally reproduce without her prior consent, will also be criminalized.

In August-September 2015, joint consultations are planned between the Ministry of Justice and the Non-Governmental sector, facilitated by UN Women, in various regions of Georgia. The Ministry of Justice plans to initiate the above package of amendments during the autumn session of Parliament. After Parliament enacts this package, the issue of ratifying the Istanbul Convention will be placed on the agenda. The Istanbul Convention was signed by the Minister of Justice of Georgia on 19 June 2014.