Georgia. At the beginning of the year, an investigation
into war crimes concerning the war between the Russian
Federation and Georgia was launched in 2008. It was the
International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague that was
going to investigate war crimes outside Africa for the first
time. Both parties have accused each other of crimes, and
according to the prosecutor, there is reasonable grounds to
believe that such crimes have been committed, including
murder and forced displacement.
In March, the Council of Europe criticized Georgia for
failing to provide adequate protection for religious and
sexual minorities exposed to rising violence and verbal
hatred. A report from the European Commission on Racism and
Intolerance called on the government to strengthen its
anti-discrimination policy and legislation. According to the
report, there is a generally homophobic climate in the
community with repeated attacks on groups representing
sexual minorities. Religious minorities, too, lack adequate
protection, it was called.
In May, the Russian Federation condemned an exercise held
by the Georgian military with American and British soldiers.
A total of about 1,300 people participated in the largest
maneuver of their kind so far. Moscow called it a
In May, several former officials at the Department of
Defense were sentenced to multi-year prison sentences
accused of misusing state funds. According to the
indictment, they had manipulated a procurement process, but
opposition politicians saw the judges as part of a vendetta
against former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. He was
dismissed after criticizing the then prime minister, and he
has been seen as a leading candidate for new head of
countryaah, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Tbilisi in June
and signed an agreement on defense cooperation between the
United States and Georgia. The agreement was seen as a mark
against the Russian Federation and a compensation for
Georgia not being closer to NATO membership despite promises
made in 2008.
In October, Georgia signed a trade agreement with China.
It will apply from the end of 2017 and opens, among other
things, for increased Georgian wine exports to China. In
addition, Chinese companies are expected to make extensive
investments in Georgia, including rail and port
Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, who has already
been jailed for corruption, was sentenced in September to a
new prison sentence of 6.5 years. Merabishvili was accused
of abusing a Member eleven years earlier. The opposition
sees the judgments against Merabishvili as political.
In October, an opposition politician was attacked with a
car bomb. He escaped unharmed, but several other people were
injured in the act, which was carried out three days before
the parliamentary elections. At an election meeting held by
an independent candidate, two people were shot.
The October parliamentary elections were held in the
shadow of the country's economic crisis, but according to
the official figures, the government coalition Georgian
dream nevertheless won a grand victory in both rounds. The
coalition took a total of 115 seats, while the opposition in
the United National Movement (ENM) received 27 seats and the
new party Patriotic Alliance 6 seats. Through its grand
victory, the government coalition gained more than
three-quarters of a majority, enough to change the
constitution. The opposition accused Georgian dream of
stealing election results through cheating, which
international observers did not agree with.