GEORGIA - Abolitionist
State of civil and political rights: Partly free
Constitution: adopted 24 August 1995
Legal System: based on civil law system
Legislative System: unicameral Parliament (Parlamenti)
Judicial System: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; first and second instance courts
Religion: Orthodox Christian 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, other minorities
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
Georgia abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 1997. Parliament adopted a new Criminal Code on November 11 of that year establishing a life prison sentence in place of capital punishment. The last execution was carried out in February 1995.
On December 14, 2006, MPs voted 173 to one to pass constitutional amendments that state explicitly that the death penalty and torture are banned in Georgia. Although the death penalty and torture are banned in Georgia, certain articles of the constitution were ambiguous in this regard.
The abolition of the death penalty was one of the primary preconditions set by the Council of Europe before Georgia could join. In 1995, then President Eduard Shevardnadze declared a moratorium on executions and commuted the 54 outstanding death sentences to 20-year prison sentences. The following year Georgia was invited as a guest to the international organization, and in 1999 it gained full membership in the CoE.
The death penalty is still retained in Georgia’s two separatist regions: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two regions are de facto independent but recognised abroad as part of Georgia, which has ruled out independence. The death penalty is legal punishment in both self-declared republics in peacetime and in wartime.
Abkhazia’s de facto Criminal Code envisages the death penalty for nine peacetime crimes and at least 15 military crimes committed in wartime or imminent threat of war. However the de facto Abkhaz authorities declared a moratorium on executions in 1993.
South Ossetia has instituted the death penalty for the trade or manufacture of illegal narcotics and envisages the death penalty for five other crimes. However, in 1992 the de facto South Ossetian Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree under which Russian legislation shall be operational, and since 1996, following the example of the Russian Federation, South Ossetia has been observing an unofficial moratorium on executions.
On May 22, 2003 Georgia deposited with the Council of Europe the instrument of ratification of Protocol No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms banning the death penalty in all circumstances.
On December 19, 2016, as in previous years, Georgia co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.