Summary Of Ongoing Activities


Organization: The International Psycho-Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, Violence and Pronounced Stress Impact (EMPATHY)

Facebook: Rct.Empathy
Contact Person: Dr. Mariam Jishkariani, President and Medical Director
Address: 23 Kandelaki Street
Tbilisi 0160, Georgia
Telephone: (+995 32) 238 10 15
Fax: (+995 32) 238 10 33
Email Address:,
EMPATHY, founded in 1996, is a non-profit non-governmental organization that provides holistic, client centered rehabilitation, including medical, psycho-social and legal support to victims of torture, ill treatment, war crimes and war affected victims and their family members in Georgia, including conflict region in Abkhazia, also through capacity building activities received clients and professionals from whole Caucasian Region and Central Asia. It performs a significant role in the field of torture prevention and its persecution in Georgia and in the Region of Caucasus. Provides Multi – Disciplinary national and trans – regional Training/Educational Programmes, supervision and mentoring for Health and Legal Professionals working with vulnerable population: War affected Victims, IDPs, Migrants, Victims of Torture, Offenders etc When necessary, the Center conducts independent medical expertise conclusions, provides forensic medical and psychological/psychiatric expertise. The Center is accredited with International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture (IRCT ( ) and is an active participant of European Network of Rehabilitation centers. EMPATHY has partnership relations with “Penal Reform International,” with CVT (USA), PHR (USA) and collaborates with the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), particularly in research projects. EMPATHY is the first torture victims’ rehabilitation centre in the South Caucasus region and also the first medical organization able to operate in Georgia’s penitentiary system since 1999.

The majority of EMPATHY’s clients are, victims of torture and ill – treatment according to CAT Article 1, 16, as well as victims of war crimes and GBV:

• Detainees and former detainees
• Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from military conflict regions (Abkhazia and South Ossetia)
• Refugees from Chechnya
• Asylum seekers from Chechnya, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan etc
• Civilians still living in the military conflict zones (especially women and children)
• Juveniles and children with imprisonment experience
• Political prisoners
• Prisoners with mental health concerns.

Average number of clients assisted by the RCT/EMPATHY per year is 500 persons.
Holistic Services/Programmes of the RCT/EMPATHY

List of Services:

• Medical
• Psychiatric
• Psychotherapy (Individual, Group and Family)
• Art Therapy and art work
• Public – educational group and individual, family therapy
• Physiotherapy, laser therapy and acupuncture
• Counselling
• Community visits
• Referrals
• Financial assistance (support for travel and accommodation for outpatient type treatment for VT)
• Social assistance
• Family – based treatment
• Psychological
• Legal assistance and client advocacy
• The centre is providing independent forensic expertise, medical and psychiatric/psychological, in accordance with Istanbul Protocol.
• “Hot Line” – for immediate response and crisis intervention.
• Training – educational and research programme.

Implemented Projects:

• 1999 September _ 2000 May – “Psychological Rehabilitation for Prisoners” (financial support by UNV).
• 2000 June – 2000 December _ Torture Victims’ Monitoring and Consulting Program for Prisoners
• 2001 April – 2002 April _ Medical and Psycho – Social Rehabilitation for Women Prisoners – Victims of Torture, (by financial support of PRI /UK/).
• 2002 April – 2002 June – Emergency Care for Women Prisoners after the Earthquake in Tbilisi.
• 2002 – Monitoring and Prevention of Torture Victims in Georgia, Author and Director of the Project (with the financial support of OSCE/ODIHR)
• Since 2003 _ Programme of Rehabilitation of Torture Victims in Georgia the project was implemented in the Penal system and in Military Conflict Zone, by the Financial Support of the UNVFVT, IRCT/Oak, EU, Open Society Institute (Budapest).
• Since November 2008: “Strengthening the Documentation System of the RCT/EMPATHY”, Funded by the IRCT.
• 2009 – 2011 Programme “Strengthening the System of Rehabilitation for Torture Victims in Georgia”, Funded by the EU, UNVFVT, IRCT;
• 2010 – 2012 – Country Partner of the IRCT International Project: “Use of forensic evidence in the fight against torture” (Project no EIDHR/2007/71).
• 2012 – 2015 – Capacity Building of Partners in Trauma Healing Project (CVT (USAID);
• Since 2012 – Multi Faced Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Fight Impunity (UNVFVT, OSI, PRI (EIDHR), IRCT/Oak).
• 2013 – 2016 the Project of the RCT/EMPATHY – Multi faced Rehabilitation for offenders in Georgia.
• 2013 – 2016 – Anti – Torture Caucasian Network and Fight Impunity, Regional Programme funded by the EIDHR, UNVFVT (2013 – 2014)
• Since 2017 – Regional Multi – Disciplinary Rehabilitation Centre, Capacity Building Programme funded by the ENI (In 2017)

Training/Educational Activities Years 2013 – 2017:

Target beneficiaries for training program in year 2013 – 2014: total number of professionals trained during the implementation period was: During the partner’s workshop held in Tbilisi in October 28 – November 1, 2013 t n = 25 persons were trained, among them 9 persons from partner organizations. During the Regional training on Trauma Focused CBT held in May 28 – 30, 2014 t n of trained professionals was: n = 30 persons, among them 4 persons from Armenia FAVL and Chechnya Niiso were attending the training via Skype. During the trans – regional training held from June 22 till June 25 in Tbilisi focused on Istanbul Protocol, total n of trained beneficiaries was n = 66 persons. Total number of health professionals, lawyers and journalists/communication officers trained during the period 2013- 2014 were n = 121 persons; among them 36 men and 85 women.

Target beneficiaries for training program 2014 – 2015: total number of professionals trained during the implementation period were: During the partner’s workshop held in Tbilisi in November 19 – 20, 2014 t n = 12 persons were trained, among them 8 persons from partner organizations.
During the trans – regional ToT training held from June 26 till June 28 in Tbilisi focused on Istanbul Protocol, total n of trained beneficiaries were n = 29 persons.
The local national training on the Istanbul Protocol and torture related international standards was held in June 30 – July 1, 2015 in Yerevan, Armenia; T n of trained persons were n = 32.
Total number of health professionals, lawyers and journalists/communication officers trained during the period 2014- 2015 were n = 73 persons; among them 37 men and 36 women.
Target beneficiaries for training program 2015 – 2016: total number of professionals trained during the implementation period were n = 109 persons, among them men n = 49, and women n = 60.

1. During the partner’s workshop held in Tbilisi in April 27, 2016 – Pre – Conference Workshop on Torture, Holistic Rehabilitation and Istanbul Protocol trained n = 37 persons.
2. In the framework of the WPA Conference hold in Tbilisi on April 28 – 30 the RCT/EMPATHY and partners organized 2 Scientific Symposiums together with the WPA Section: “Torture Psychological Consequences and Persecution”. Title of symposiums were: First symposium title was: Refugee Trauma and Torture and title of second symposium was: The Istanbul Protocol Implementation in Forensic Psychiatry – Challenges and Perspective; Total Participants for both workshops were 25 persons.
3. On July 23 – 24, 2016 the training – workshop was held for the conflict affected Abkhazian Region health professionals in Anaklia, west Georgia. Title of the training – workshop was: The Istanbul Protocol an Instrument to Fight Impunity (Initial training – workshop for doctors working with risk groups). Total n = 22 persons trained during this workshop.
4. On July 30 – 31, 2016 the initial training – workshop on Istanbul Protocol was held for Health professionals’ mainly forensic experts and forensic psychiatrists in Baku, total n = 25 persons trained for this workshop.
Total number of beneficiaries health and legal experts trained during three years period on holistic approaches to the rehabilitation of torture victims, as well as prevention, documentation and accountability issues were: n = 303 persons, among them 122 were men and women n = 181. Among them 29 persons became trainers on this issue after the permanent training programme and ToT and 12 persons from partner Centres passed the series of training – workshop with mentoring and supervision modules.

In year 2017 target group for training – programme were health care professionals, legal experts, women leaders and administrative staff representatives from different kinds of NGOs, t n = 57 persons, among them n = 40 (70 %) women and n = 17 (30 %) men. Among them n = 26 were health care professionals, n = 13 – legal experts, organizational development staff 11 persons, human rights activists and women leaders n = 7 persons.
It should be underlined that all training/educational programmes prepared and hold by the RCT/EMPATHY includes Trauma – Focused Modules, including prevention of secondary traumatization such are burnout or/and vicarious trauma, with special workshops and exercises.

Main Training/Education Programmes implemented:

1. In 2009 – 2010 – Was participate in elaboration of Syllabus in Psychiatry for Medical Universities
2. In 2011 –2012 Was participate in elaboration of Syllabus for Residency Programme in psychiatry
3. 1997 December 23-27, Tbilisi _ Training seminar “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”, for specialists, by financial support of the Netherlands UK Embassies in Moscow.
4. 1998 June 25-26, Zugdidi /conflict zone/ _ The Emergency Situations Headquarters of Ministry of Health of Georgia, training – seminar for local specialists, “Trauma, Stress and Victimisation, Emergency Therapy”.
5. 2000 May 24, Tbilisi _ Seminar “Psychological Rehabilitation for Prisoners”, financial support -UNV.
6. 2001 November 11, Tbilisi – Seminar “Medical and Psycho – Social Rehabilitation for Prisoners” (financial support of PRI)
7. 2002 May, ICRC/PRI, Training for Prisons’ Doctors, Trainer
8. 2004 November 12 – 15, Tbilisi; International Training Seminar on Documentation of Torture: “Istanbul Protocol” (IRCT) – Trainer.
9. 2005 July, 2005, Tbilisi, Training for Probation Officers on Case Management – Social Therapy, MDT Work and Rehabilitation; Trainer.
10. 2005 August 16, 18 _ International Training Seminar on Medical Ethics and Reporting of Torture for Prisons Doctors and Medical Forensic Experts, held in Uzbekistan, Tashkent (IRCT, WHO), International Trainer, Head of the Local Training Committee;
11. 2005 October 19 – 21 – Second International Training Seminar on Medical Ethics and Reporting of Torture for Prisons Doctors, held in Uzbekistan, Tashkent (IRCT, WHO), International Trainer.
12. 2007 May 31 – June 4 – International Training Seminar on Documentation of Torture: Second Phase, Training of Trainers; “Istanbul Protocol” (IRCT) – Trainer, Head of the Local Training Committee;
13. 2007, “International instruments and Mechanisms for Prevention and Documentation of Torture” was held in September 29 – 30 at the public Defender’s Office, International Trainer.
14. 2008 August 9 – 11, Tbilisi, 3 days training on Crisis Intervention – war Conflict in Georgia, Trainer.
15. 2008 November 28 – 30, Tbilisi, Georgia, Training for Prison Doctors on Prevention, Documentation and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims.
16. 2008 December 5 – 7 , Tbilisi, Georgia, Training for RCT/EMPATHY Staff and consultants (Doctors and Legal Experts), Torture Victims Rehabilitation, Reports according to Istanbul Protocol, International Instruments on Prevention of Torture.
17. 2008 December 17 – 19, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, International Training on Prevention and Documentation of Torture for Forensic Medical Experts and Prison Staff (Doctors and Regime Staff), international Trainer from IRCT.
18. 2009 April 24 – 26, Kazakhstan, Alma – Ata, International Training for Medical Doctors and legal experts, international Trainer from IRCT
19. 2009 November 27 – 30, Tbilisi, Training for Doctors at Risk, RCT/EMPATHY and GMA, Trainer
20. 2009 February 17 – 19, Tbilisi, Training for RCT/EMPATHY Doctors and Experts, RCT/EMPATHY, IRCT, Trainer
21. 2010 September 23 – 25, Tbilisi, Caucasian Regional Training for Doctors, Forensic Doctors, Psychiatrists, legal Experts, RCT/EMPATHY, PRI, IRCT – Expert/Trainer.
22. 2011 September 15 – 17, Zugdidi (Para – Military Conflict Zone near Abkhazia), Training for Doctors working at Risk Zone from Both sides of Conflict (Georgian/Abkhazian), RCT/EMPATHY and the Crisis Intervention Centre, Gali Region, Trainer
23. 2011 December 22 – 24, Tbilisi, Training for the RCT/EMPATHY Doctors and Experts, Consultants, RCT/EMPATHY, Trainer
24. 2011 December 27 – 29, Tbilisi, Training for legal Experts, RCT/EMPATHY, Trainer
25. 2012 July – 1 – 3, Tbilisi, Participation at the Istanbul Protocol Training held for NPM together with Trainer/Experts from Physicians on Human Rights and CVT (USA).
26. 2013 – 2014 – Training Sessions on Istanbul Protocol in Dushanbe, Bishkek, Almaty (Project: Implementation of IP in Central Asia, PHR)
27. 2013 – 2014 – Training Sessions on Torture and Istanbul Protocol for Prison Staff at the Training Centre of MoC of Georgia
28. 2014 – Training Session on Istanbul Protocol for Prison Administration and Doctors (CoE training)
29. 2014 – May 28 – 30, Tbilisi: Trauma Focused CBT, RCT/EMPATHY, CVT
30. 2014 – June 23 – 25, Tbilisi, Istanbul Protocol Fight Impunity, Trans regional training, Caucasian region and Central Asia, RCT/EMPATHY project.
31. 2014 – June 22 – Trans regional Workshop: Caucasus and Central Asia, “Aiding the identification of policing and security equipment commonly used in torture and ill- treatment”, A workshop facilitated by The Omega Research Foundation, RCT/Empathy and the IRCT.
32. 2015, June 26 – 28, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 4 Freedom Square Tbilisi, Georgia, The trans- regional training of trainers’ workshop, Organized by the RCT/EMPATHY, IRCT and Regional Partners. The Istanbul Protocol – Instrument for Fight Impunity Programme
33. 2015, Tbilisi, May 31 – June 6, Court Yard Marriott Hotel – CVT (USA) Workshop, Trauma Healing Project Partners
34. 2015, June 30 – July 1,; PROGRAMME The Istanbul Protocol – Instrument for Fight Impunity, Initial training – workshop: for Doctors working with risk groups (Forensic Medical Experts, Psychiatrists, Psychologists), legal Experts and NPM, hold in Yerevan (Armenia)
35. The Istanbul Protocol – Instrument for Fight Impunity, INITIAL TRAINING WORKSHOP for Doctors working with risk groups, July 23 – July 24, 2016, Anaklia, Zugdidi, For Military Region Doctors, Hold in Para – Military Region
36. July 30 – July 31, 2016, Venue Irshad, Hotel, 11 Vagif Avenue, Baku, PROGRAMME, The Istanbul Protocol – Medical, Legal and Ethical Standards for Medical Documentation for Forensic Experts and psychiatrist
37. 2016 – 2017, Several Workshops for Capacity Building of Professionals from Regional of Caucasus, Hold at the RCT/EMPATHY
38. 2015 – 2017 – Several International Training/Workshops in Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, in the Framework of PHR (USA) Programme: Implementation of Istanbul Protocol in Central Asia, International Expert;
39. 2017 – Workshop for Professionals on Istanbul Protocol, Rehabilitation and Documentation of Torture, Hold June 26 – 29, Tbilisi, RCT/EMPATHY
40. 2017 – Workshop: Capacity Building of Partners, hold September 19 – 21, Tbilisi, RCT/EMPATHY
41. 2017 – ToT Torture Documentation, IP and Rehabilitation, Hold December 4 – 7, Tbilisi, RCT/EMPATHY

On – Going (Core) Activities year 2018

1. Treatment and Rehabilitation Department serves 60 persons, undergoing medical, mental – psychological assistance. In waiting list: 72 persons from regions of Abkhazia/Georgia and victims of ethnic cleansing from South Ossetia, also from para military region of South Ossetia.
2. Art Studio – On going clients – t n = 12 persons
3. Legal Department and crisis intervention: Long term assistance – 154 cases of ICC, submitted t n = 120. 27 case of war victims submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, criminal cases at national level, new appeals from Prisons n = 5 – received in 2018, ongoing offenders cases – 12. Ongoing cases in ECtHR – 2.
4. Forensic Department works on forensic evaluation on t n = 6 cases, among them well known case of Tatunashvili.
5. Started communication on Chechen Genocide cases that are under preliminary investigation at ICC.


6. The training – workshop (4 days) provided for para – occupied region health professionals on holistic approaches of rehabilitation for torture victims (4 day in nearby military region of Abkhazia – Zugdidi).
7. Planned actions on June 26 – UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: 2 days’ workshop – capacity building for para – military health professionals to be held on June 27 – 28, at Empathy Office in Tbilisi.
8. Public – Lecture/Discussion on innovative study regarding Stockholm – Like phenomenon among war affected Post – Soviet Countries – to be held on July 2, 2018 at the Open University of Georgia.
9. On July 8 – 12, 2018 Presentation on ISPRM – World Congress of International Society Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.
10. Planed in 2019: Presentation on Stockholm – like Syndrome (Outcomes of Research 2)the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) to be held in July 21 – 27, Rome

Capacity of the RCT/EMPATHY

11. Has well equipped office and art studio (both rented) with regional coverage – presents safe place for all Empathy partners from North and South Caucasian Region and Central Asia as well, also for international partners to meet human rights defenders from various agencies and regions.
12. Istanbul Protocol Training Programme accredited at the MoH.
13. Accredited programme on Trauma Focused CBT
14. The RCT/EMPATHY is only NGO obtained State Certificate on Forensic Medical and Mental/psychological Expertise that provides records according to the IP.
15. Received requests from Central Asia for internship and regional training – workshop at the RCT/EMPATHY.
16. Finally, the RCT/EMPATHY has more then 5 000 archive of client documentation.
17. Have minimum number 15 person permanent staff, 1 volunteer and two interns, among them one from USA, about 17 consultant/experts, 9 experts with experience of NPM expertise (2009 – 2014)
18. 24 sub – contractor health diagnostic Centres