Appeal by Human Rights Center against Delayed Rehabilitation and Compensation of Victims of Torture

Font size
HRC shall continue to protect the rights of individuals who have been subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment at various times, and who have become victims of systemic crimes. 
The State still avoids fulfilling its obligations to the vast majority of victims and refuses to rehabilitate and pay them adequate compensations. Meanwhile, the cases of victim compensations pending at the courts for years fail to meet the goals of justice. 
A beneficiary of HRC, L.K., for many years, was a victim of torture and ill-treatment by the administration at Penitentiary Facility N8 leaving a heavy mark on his health. L.K. was recognized as a victim based on the prosecutor's decision from 2017.  
In accordance with the judgment of conviction over the case of L.K. which became effective from November 12, 2019,   Certain officials and officers of Penitentiary Facility N8 were convicted of the offense under Article 1441 (2)(a)(d)(e)(g) of the Criminal Code of Georgia (meaning the torture i.e. treating a person in the way that in its nature, intensity and duration, causes severe physical pain, mental and moral suffering and which is intended to obtain information, intimidate, coerce and punish a person, and this committed by an officer or a person equal to an officer using his/her official position, in a group, or against a person deprived liberty in any manner).   
On July 1, 2020, HRC filed a claim with a court to have the damage received from the offense paid to L.K., nevertheless, no hearings have yet been held over the claim.
Already on June 10, 2016, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the Resolution regarding the Legal Assessment of the Facts of Torture and Ill-Treatment of Persons during 2004-2012 and the Inadmissibility and Complete Prevention of such Facts to take place again. The main principle of the Resolution was that the State must investigate the facts of past ill-treatment, in particular, the violations that took place before the 2012 elections, and the investigation must be conducted in a manner to avoid political retaliation. The same Resolution provided for that: "The State must take all measures within its authority to ensure that victims of violations are provided with effective means of protection; to ensure a timely, impartial and effective investigation into each case of torture and ill-treatment; to define a unified state policy; to ensure the protection and rehabilitation of victims of torture and ill-treatment; to ensure effective legal aid to victims of torture and ill-treatment and their legal protection."
Despite the aforementioned, due to the procrastination in the proceedings over the case of L.K., HRC believes that there is still no unified state policy on the cases of torture and ill-treatment.  The authorities practice recalling the cases of torture during public elections in the public debates with the opposition parties in order to influence voters, thus such practice took the form of political retaliation. Indeed, not many things have been done on the part of the State over the years to protect and rehabilitate the victims of torture and ill-treatment. 
The victims of torture and ill-treatment have to wait for years for their cases pending with the courts without outcomes. HRC is concerned that many cases HRC is involved with are procrastinated in terms of investigation proceedings with the investigating agencies revitalizing the cases during the times of elections allegedly to gain political scores. Since 2012, even after almost 10 years, the State has failed to ensure the adoption of the unified state policy on torture and ill-treatment; today we do not have clear criteria both for opening the investigative proceedings and for the progress of such proceedings making rather vague the prospects of legal remedies for those who have suffered the injustice of torture and inhuman treatment.
HRC calls on: 
The Georgian authorities:
• to abandon the practice of politicizing the process of remedying the rights of victims of torture and inhuman treatment and return the process to the legal framework;
• to adopt the unified state policy on torture and inhuman treatment for investigating and indemnifying the victims of abuse;
• to ensure timely, impartial, and effective investigation of each case of torture and ill-treatment;

The Special Penitentiary Service
• to facilitate the victims of torture and ill-treatment in exercising their right to receive timely and adequate compensations. 
Human Rights Center