Bakar Jikia (Penal Reform International) and Moris Shalikashvili (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University)

Georgia represents a particularly interesting case when it comes to torture prevention for two basic reasons. First, the country went through a number of transformations during the research period from 1985 to 2014. These periods included Soviet rule in the 1980s, the post-Soviet chaos of early nineties, emerging but corrupt state institutions for the later part of the century, the tight grip of the United National Movement for nine years from 2004 to 2012 and the more human rights oriented approach of the new government which has yet to be properly tested. These changes not only affected the political landscape, but also directly influenced detention practices as well as the torture prevention situation in the country.

Second, the Georgian state experienced a number of internal and external threats, including a successful coup and a “peaceful revolution”, Russian-backed secessionist armed conflicts in breakaway regions and an outright war with Russia. Hence while reviewing areas related to the prevention of torture the chapter also factors in political developments which in a number of occasions had a direct effect on law enforcement practices in penitentiary and police custody.

Georgia also presents a very successful example of the impact of prevention measures in two separate sectors. Radical improvements in detention procedures in the 2000s resulted in a marked improvement of detainees in police custody. Later, after the torture problem had shifted into prisons, effective monitoring and consequent reforms led to an improvement there too.