Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Georgia

Data. According to a global study on homicide conducted in 2013, the intentional homicide rate per 100,000 population is 3.4, which puts Georgia in the group of low homicide rate countries. The percentage of male and female intentional homicide victims is 75.7 and 24.3, respectively.  
According to the analysis provided by the Chief Prosecutor Office of Georgia, 53 women were killed in 2014-2015, of which 27 murders were so-called “domestic violence murders”, and 18 women were killed by their intimate partners.  
1 Definition 
The term “femicide” has been used regularly by the media, activists, and the general public since 2014. The term “femicide” entered public discourse after a murder that occurred on October 17, 2014, when a man recently released from prison killed his ex-wife and then committed suicide in front of students and professors at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. The broad media coverage of this particular murder and other killings of women in 2014 brought femicide into the foreground and caused a public outcry.  

Different organizations (NGOs, media, academia, state institutions) define femicide as the gender related killing of women, related to gender-based violence by an intimate partner.  

2 Legislation 
Legislation in the Republic of Georgia does not recognize femicide as a separate crime; all cases of killings of women are investigated and punished as crimes against human beings. Therefore, no separate statistics are collected on the killings of women, based on gender.  
Currently femicide cases are investigated under penal code articles, including: murder, murder in aggravating circumstances, intentional murder in a state of sudden strong emotional excitement, intentional infliction of grave injury that caused death, incitement to suicide, an article specifying domestic crimes, and articles that describe the commission of a crime related to sex. 

3 Sources 
Journalists and civil society can only speculate about the veracity of the data, since government institutions and legislation have not responded to requests for detailed crime data, which would help shed light on the actual trends. Government institutions (Ministry of Interior, Prosecutor Office, Courts) remain the source for collecting and disseminating data. No organization exists to collect and collate data from alternative sources and double-check the information. 
Groups following the topic include:  
Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) ( which has received a grant from European Commission to track violent crime against women.   
In 2015, the Chief Prosecutor Office published an analysis on intimate and family homicide  
 On April 4, 2016, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association released a study entitled, “Judgments in cases of femicide – 2014”. 
The Public Defender of Georgia publishes special reports: 
The UNFPA is paying attention to one particular type of femicide -- sex selective abortions. 
The Georgian Center for medical psychosocial rehabilitation of torture victims works with victims of gender violence.  

(by Tiko Tsomaia) 

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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