Combating hate crimes was still a priority for the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in 2018. With the aim to effectively apply the recommendation on hate crimes devised for prosecutors in practice, a special questionnaire was developed in 2017, which prescribed guidelines for interviewing/interrogating alleged victims, perpetrators and witnesses of hate crimes.
Quality and effectiveness of the actions carried out to reveal motivations behind hate crimes in criminal cases has been improved after introducing the questionnaire to the employees of the prosecution system.
In 2017, criminal proceedings were launched against 44 individuals. 4 of them were charged with sexual orientation hate crime, 4 of them – with gender identity hate crime, 2 of them – with religious hate crime, 25 of them – with sex/gender-based hate crime, 9 of them - with alleged characteristics of various hate crimes (6 individuals – gender identity, 1 individual – sexual orientation, 2 individuals – religion);
It should be noted that, according to 2016 data, the number of persons prosecuted for hate crimes has doubled in 2017. Moreover, if prosecutors indicated only sexual orientation in indictments as grounds of offense, 2017 saw progress in this regard as well. Awareness of prosecutors on hate crimes has been improved and, in addition, technics to identify motivation in course of investigation has been refined. Namely, apart from sexual orientation, some individuals were prosecuted for intolerance toward gender identity.
According to data of 11 months of 2018, criminal proceedings were launched against 116 individuals. 14 of them were charged with sexual orientation hate crime, 10 of them – with gender identity hate crime, 1 of them – with ethnicity-based hate crime, 3 of them – with nationality-based hate crime, 1 of them - with religious hate crime, 86 of them – with sex/gender-based hate crimes, while 1 person was charged with other hate crime.
Furthermore, positive steps taken in relation to investigation of the offenses committed on the grounds of religious intolerance are noteworthy. In particular, with the aim to support prosecutorial activities in such cases, the Division of Human Rights Protection developed a recommendation that provides for interpretation of the provisions of the Georgian legislation on religious intolerance, instances of damaging religious buildings and structures, legal qualification of verbal abuse and other pressing issues. An expert from the Council of Europe studied the recommendation.
With aim to inform the general public proactively about the instances of hate crimes and increase awareness, information concerning prosecution and conviction of the crimes against sexual and religious minorities were actively published on the website of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in 2017-2018.
The complete Report on Monitoring the Recommendation of Prosecutors Concerning Effective Investigation and Prosecution of Hate Crimes will be presented in 2019.