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On 6 March, the Legal Issues Committee of Georgia’s Parliament voted against a draft law against femicide.
The bill, introduced by the Republican Party in January 2017, proposed singling out femicide as an exceptionally serious crime and would recognise gender-based crimes as crimes committed in aggravating circumstances.
According to the bill, femicide is defined as the premeditated murder of a woman on the grounds of her gender, committed by a spouse, former spouse, partner, ex-partner, or other family member, and would be punishable by imprisonment of 11–15 years, or up to 20 years in exceptional circumstances.
A similar initiative by the Republican party was rejected by parliament in June 2016. However, legislative amendments to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence were approved by the Committees of Parliament on 27 February. The changes were part of the ratification process of the Istanbul Convention against all forms of violence against women and domestic violence.
The new changes criminalised stalking, female genital mutilation (which was uncovered in Georgia by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting), forced sterilisation, forced abortion, and domestic violence.
However, according to Tamar Kordzaia, former MP and Republican Party leader, the Istanbul Convention does not go far enough. She claims, that women must outline the problem themselves. ‘We believe that the initiative would have supplemented the Istanbul Convention package’, online media outlet Netgazeti quoted Kordzaia.
Netgazeti also quoted Davit Matikashvili, Deputy Chair of The Legal Committee, as saying that despite the negative response from the committee, the issue will still be discussed in the future. ‘If a similar initiative is introduced to parliament, a much more refined suggestion would be preferable’, he said.