Specialized prosecutors to work on sexual offences
Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia is taking new steps towards prosecutor specialization. In addition to domestic crimes, the specialized prosecutors will now work on crimes against sexual freedom and inviolability. Implemented since 10 April 2021, the initiative was launched by the agency with the support of UN Women, the Council of Europe and the international organization Equality Now.
It is a progressive step to involve specialized prosecutors in the fight against sexual crimes and to introduce multidisciplinary approaches. It should be noted that 59 prosecutors completed the specialized course from 29 March to 7 April and were awarded relevant certificates.
In addition to international and domestic legislation, the curriculum covers the psychological aspects of interacting with victims/survivors. Important issues were discussed during the four-day intensive training, such as the international standards on sexual offences and positive obligations of the State; the definition of sexual offences and issues on the differentiation among sexual offences; issues of concern for an investigation; the process of obtaining evidence and the standard of proof; standards for the recognition of a person as a victim and for the protection of the victim’s rights in criminal proceedings; mechanisms for the protection of and assistance to victims; and victim-focused approaches during legal proceedings. The training also addressed the circumstances and approaches to be considered in regard to underage victims of sexual violence; issues of identifying the motives of gender-based discrimination in sexual offences; the specifics of sexual crimes committed against persons with disabilities; sexual violence and trauma; and the psychological characteristics of interacting with a victim of sexual violence.
“Our goal is to enhance the quality and efficiency of prosecutorial activities regarding the crimes in this category, and we think that specialization is an important step for this,” remarked the Prosecutor General, Irakli Shotadze. “We will continue to work in this direction with our international partners in the future.”
At the ceremony held at the Prosecutor’s Office to award the certificates, Acting UN Women Country Representative Tamar Sabedashvili remarked: “UN Women appreciates the readiness of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to be more committed and consistent in regard to the challenges that exist in the fight against sexual offences. The specialization of prosecutors is a step taken in the right direction. We must do everything possible to punish the perpetrators and prevent revictimization in the criminal proceedings.”
UN Women has been cooperating with the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia on the issues of violence against women and domestic violence since 2014. As a result, with the support of UN Women, only specialized prosecutors and investigators have been working on domestic crimes in Georgia since May 2018. This cooperation is part of the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, which is implemented by UN Women, with the generous financial support of the Government of Sweden, together with UNDP and UNFPA.