Public Defender: Georgia needs a femicide law

14 April 2017
Activists protest violence against women (Mari Nikuradze/OC Media)

Rights groups in Georgia as well as the Public Defender’s Office are campaigning for a separate law against femicide to be added to Georgian legislation. They have urged the government to take proper measures to eliminate the killing of women.

Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said at a conference on 13 April that the scale of gender-based killing in Georgia is concerning — in 2016 there were 21 cases, while in the first three months of 2017 there were four cases (Georgia’s population as of 2016 is 3.7 million).

A Woman was murdered on 8 April in Aspindza, in the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region of southern Georgia allegedly by her husband. The woman was stabbed with a knife eight times, killing her on spot. The couple had two children.

After allegedly killing his wife, the man is reported to have gone on to search for a second person, a man whom he was jealous of, with the intention of killing him too, but the man wasn’t home and so he attacked his father instead. The father received a head injury after being hit with blunt object.

Police have arrested the suspect and launched an investigation for premeditated murder.

Women’s rights group Sapari quoted local resident Nino Lekishvili as saying that the woman never appealed for help to anyone before the day of her murder, when she asked a neighbour to shelter her. According to Lekishvili, the neighbour refused, and this was when the husband stabbed her in the street in front of their children.

‘A few months ago this woman left her husband for a while, but then her relative said that she went back fearing the judgement of people in the village’, she said.

On 6 March, the Legal Issues Committee of Georgia’s Parliament voted against a draft law against femicide. The bill defined femicide 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.

During the press-conference at the Public Defender’s Office on Thursday, Nanuashvili said that they will try again to push through femicide legislation.

He said that although the problem is acute, the state doesn’t have a standard approach to evaluating risks and avoiding repeat offences.

‘There is no recorded statistic of these cases to analyse them and organise preventive measures based on this data’, he remarked.

According to Nanuashvili, the Public Defender’s Office plans to introduce a system to monitor femicide in Georgia. They will study each case femicide in detail and coordinate with investigative bodies and the courts in such cases.

Parliament rejected another draft law on femicide submitted by the Republican Party, 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.

 

Fierce, independent journalism

Let’s be honest, the media situation in the Caucasus is grim. Every day we are accused of ‘serving the enemy’ whoever that enemy may be. Our journalists have been harassed, arrested, beaten, and exiled. But nevertheless, we persevere. For us this is a labour of love. Unfortunately, we cannot run OC Media on love alone, journalism is expensive and funding is scarce. Our sole mission is to serve the interests of all peoples of the region. Support us today and join us in the fight for a better Caucasus.

Support Us