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The News in Brief

Friday, February 17
Parliamentary Committee gives first green light to changes to Imprisonment Code

The Georgian Parliamentary Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee approved of proposed changes to the Imprisonment Code aimed at improving the lives of convicts at its first hearing today.

The legislative amendments initiated by the Georgian Ministry of Corrections aim at preparing convicts for re-socialisation.

The changes to the code touch on a variety of issues, such as: the introduction of home detention as a new type of imprisonment; the arrangement of special detention facilities for those with less than six-month detention; improving access to information; opportunities for bachelor level education; allowing female convicts with children above the age of three to spend their weekends at home until the child reaches the age of four, and others.

Introducing the proposed changes to the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee today, Minister Kakha Kakhishvili said "our goal is to make the penitentiary system oriented towards a person’s re-socialization instead of isolation”.

Chairwoman of the Committee Sopio Kiladze believes this would be yet another step forward in improving the situation of the penitentiary system.

Representative of Public Defender’s Office Eka Popkhadze also approved of the legislative amendment, commenting that society has got used to "progressive changes” from the ministry "based on principles of fundamental human rights”.

Although opposition United National Movement (UNM) party members did not attend the discussion, UNM member Tina Bokuchava said she would personally approve of the proposed changes.

Initially approved of by the Government of Georgia, the Imprisonment Code will be further discussed at other committees before the final approval at the nearest plenary session, which is scheduled for March. (

Defense Ministry Reinstates Conscription

The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) reintroduced compulsory military service in the country’s armed forces, eight months after Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli abolished military conscription.

The new system differs “significantly and qualitatively” from the old, the MoD said in its February 14 statement.

According to the new rule, conscripts will go through “comprehensive” preparatory combat training for three months and will serve as duty officers for the remaining nine months.

Unlike the previous system, however, the conscripts will go through “combat preparation hours” on a daily basis for the remaining nine months as well.

The conscripts will be able to use days-off and “an improved social benefits package,” according to MoD.

The conscripts will “support the professional army” in fulfilling their daily duties. The Ministry also hopes that the new system will also help fill the ranks of the professional army and the reserve.

“It will also contribute to the civic integration of ethnic and religious minorities,” the statement said.

Georgia runs a mixed system based on both contracts and conscription.

The plan to abandon the conscription system was first announced by former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in early 2013 and then reiterated by then PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Former Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli annulled recruitment of conscripts by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in June, 2016, drawing criticism from the ruling GDDG party.

The move did not mean the full abolition of conscription.

The bulk of recruitment of conscripts was still made by the Interior Ministry; the State Security Agency; Special State Protection Service (SSPS); ministry in charge of the penitentiary system; intelligence service. (

Measure of detention not to be used for purchase and retention of 100 grams of crude marijuana any more

The Constitutional Court upheld a request indicated in the Bolnisi District Court ruling and annulled the norm of part 1 of Article 260 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which pertains to the imprisonment of a person for the purchase and possession of 100 grams of crude marijuana for personal use.

The abovementioned information has been posted on the Constitutional Court web-page.

According to the information, the Constitutional Court was guided in the case by the ruling delivered in the Beka Tsikarishvili case on 24 October, 2015.

The court held that it is impossible to arrest a person on grounds of the protection of their health, since he/she did not harm anyone else by purchasing and retaining 100 grams of crude marijuana. (IPN)