The statement of the Center Empathy in regard to the functioning of National Preventive Mechanism
On 26/12/2014 was published statement of the Public Defender of Georgia on the issue of functioning of National Preventive Mechanism and the dissatisfaction, expressed by the experts. In the above mentioned statement the Public Defender stresses the importance of documentation of cases of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as talks of importance of video and audio recordings. We would like to note, that this is the standard, required by international principles of documentation of such cases, namely the Istanbul Protocol, which represents the Guidelines for Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and other Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (The UN, 2001). On 22/12/2014 at the meeting of the National Preventive Mechanism the Public Defender stated, that he referred certain cases to the Department of Justice, while the Istanbul Protocol is not a compulsory document. I would like to state, that effective documentation of cases of torture is required in regard to individual cases of torture. I.e. we have to deal with conflicting explanations on behalf of the Public Defender, which is indicative of the fact, that there is not correct attitude towards the issue of prevention of torture. This was exactly the reason why the experts of the Center Empathy left the composition of the National preventive Mechanism. I would also like to stress, that the experts by doing so have not violated any norm of the law or the Code of Ethics, elaborated by the PDO. At the same time it should be noted, that the requirements of the Public Defender are in conflict with the national law and international principles on the freedom of expression and independence of experts.
As to the reports of monitoring of different penitentiary facilities, conducted during 2014 and relevant proposals, published on the website of the PDO (www.ombudsman.ge), they are not sufficiently informative as required by the international standards. In the above mentioned reports the chapters, dedicated to Ill-treatment are the shortest and do not reflect all required information. Namely: what are the conditions of accepting of convicts in penitentiary facilities and their examination, what is the statistical data on injuries, identified on the bodies of convicts and detainees, accepted in the penitentiary facilities, what was the response to cases of identification of injuries and whether all relevant information is duly documented.
On the same website is published a “Special Informational Report on Detentions at Administrative Borders and Conditions of Inmates”. We would like to stress the following in regard to this report:
1. The above referred occupation zone cannot be considered as “administrative border” or even a “demarcation line”;
2. The above mentioned report does not have any reference to detaining of civilians, assessment of their torture through application of relevant prevention standards, and that detention, conviction and abduction of civilians represents violation of standards, stipulated for by international humanitarian law;
3. The report contains no recommendations or information on the facts of documentation of such cases by the NPM and whether the PDO has applied to the prosecution for investigation of such cases;
4. It should also be mentioned, that PDO has not applied to experts of the center Empathy with request of documentation of such cases.
All the above mentioned, as well as previous statements of the center Empathy, published on 21/11/2014, 23/12/2014, 24/12/2014 (f rct.empathy) indicated to ineffectiveness of current NPM, as well as inappropriate attitude towards the experts.
Consequently, experts of the center empathy shall not take part in the competition, announced for staffing of the NPM and call upon the Parliament of Georgia to start considering the option of moving out NPM from the PDO to ensure proper implementation of international obligations and effective and independent functioning of given mechanism.