Across the world—even in those nations where the rule of law is seeminglystrong—millions of women and children lack basic human rights within their own homes. In many cases, the systematic denial of rights for women begins with anunresponsive judiciary that is either unwilling or unable to provide stronglegal protections to victims of abuse. Even in cases where women’s rights are ostensibly protected, legislation specific to the issue of domestic violence is oftenlacking.
To prevent such a state of affairs from becoming prevalent in Georgia, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held a conference at the Vere Palace Hotel in Tblisi on May 16, to unveil a manual concerningthat country’s new domestic violence legislation. Jointly prepared by ABA ROLI,the Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights (CPCR) and two prominentGeorgian judges, the manual presents a detailed explanation of the 2006 Law ofGeorgia on “Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of and Support to ItsVictims.” The manual also seeks to clarify Chapter VII of the Administrative Procedural Code, which likewise addresses the protection and assistance ofvictims.
The publication also presents extensive commentaries (including discussions of many problems with the law and procedure) and makes suggestions for improvement. Many of these issues were revealed through the practical work ofpatrol police who respond to domestic violence cases, lawyers who serve victims of domestic violence and judges who deal with such cases in court. The manualalso offers several hypothetical situations of domestic violence cases andprovides recommendations to police, lawyers, social agencies and others on howto deal with these cases most efficiently. The manual is expected to be widely used by practicing attorneys, judges, patrol police and others who are interested in domestic violence issues.
Speakers at presentation were: Honorable Judge Dean B. Pineles, ABA Legal Specialist; Koba Bochorishvili, author of the manual and executive director of CPCR; Shalva Demetradze, Advocate and former Judge, Tbilisi City Court CivilLaw Unit; and Lela Tsanava, Judge, Tbilisi City Court Administrative Law Unit,currently serving in Batumi City Court. Attendees included representatives fromwomen’s rights organizations, human rights activists, representatives of thepatrol police and the ombudsman, and the media.
Near the end of the event, Nino Tsikhistavi from the Caucasus Women’s Research and Consulting Network proclaimed: “In the name of all the Georgian women’s rights organizations and domestic violence victims I would like to thank the ABA Rule of Law Initiative for the immense effort it has made for the adoption of the domestic violence law and for the protection of the victims…I want to thank CPCR on behalf of one of the domestic violence victims who [hadsuffered for] 15 years and was finally relieved with the help of CPCR’s devoted lawyers.”
For more information about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s work in Georgia, contact [email protected]