From: Emil Moller <>
Report on Fact-finding Mission of the Dutch Information Center on the Republic of Georgia

The mission was conducted from April 17th through May 7th.
Aim of the mission was to investigate and substantiate the
conclusions of our extensive Internet- and library research into
the human-rights situation in Georgia at present.

[1 ] List of participants of mission.
[2 ] Copyrights.
[3 ] List with interviewed organizations and persons.
[4 ] List with authors of this report.
[5 ] {   I} Maltreatment by the police / corruption.
[6 ] {  II} Imprisonment due to political conviction / abuse during
            detention / violations of human rights.
[7 ] { III} Absence of a fiar trail.
[8 ] { IVa} Absence of state protection in general.
[9 ] { IVb} Absence of state protection in parts of its territory.
[10] { IVc} Absence of state protection regarding ethnic minorities.
[11] { IVd} Absence of state protection in fields of civil rights,
            like freedom of the press and freedom to organize demon-
[12] {   V} Connections between authorities and organized crime.
[13] {  VI} Russia's destabilizing role in connection with potential
            well-found fears of persecution.
[14] { VII} Role of the former Nomenclatura in relationship with
            potential well-found fears of persecution.
[15] {VIII} Shevarnadze's power struggle in relationship with
            potential well-found fears of persecution.
[16] {  IX} The economic situation in relationship with the human-
            rights situation.
[17] {  Xa} Risks upon return for ex-asylum seekers, without adequate
[18] {  Xb} Risks upon return for single women.
[19] {  Xc} Critizism on way reports of the Dutch foreign office on
            Georgia [August '95 and January '96] came about.
[20] {  XI} Conclusions.
[21] { XII} Appendices.

- Participants: - mr Meeuwis, barrister in Holland and
                  Chairman of our center.
                - mr Moller, corporate lawyer in Holland and
                  Secretary of our center.

- Copyrights: the contents of this report can be forwarded, if left
              completely intact. When in doubt, contact authors for
              reference [, fax: 0031 575510496].

- Wherever a male version is stated, a female one can be read as well.

- List of organizations- and persons interviewed.

[1 ] Caucasia.
[2 ] Caucasian center for peace democracy and development.
[3 ] Chairman human-rights committee of the Government.
[4 ] Committee against human torture.
[5 ] Co-author 'Human development in Georgia'.
[6 ] Free Georgia.
[7 ] Georgian young lawyers association.
[8 ] Iberia Spectr.
[9 ] OSCE.
[10] Kavkasioni.
[11] Medium-sized enterprise in Tblisi.
[12] Norwegian refugee council.
[13] National democratic party.
[14] 3 Public prosecutors at Supreme Court.
[15] President Supreme Court.
[16] Judge Supreme Court.
[17] Saint Tamara order.
[18] Seven Days.
[19] UNHCR.
[20] Vice president Supreme Court.

In order to protect the interests of the persons involved, we
consider it expedient to omit more accurate descriptions.
Upon request more accurate descriptions can be obtained with
the Chairman of our Foundation, under strict secrecy.

The structure of our previous report will be used in this report
as well; see points I through XI.

- The participants of the mission are also the authors of this

{   I} Abuse by the police / corruption.

1. Police are commonly and covertly called 'dogs'; which can be
considered as a serious insult.
2. Since the Mkhedrioni has been eliminated [which was a para-
militairy organization, but controlled\balanced the police], there
is no correcting organ, acting effectively on the power of the police.
Where the Mkhedrioni was seen as a criminal organization, now it's
assumed that a part of those criminal activities has gone to the
police. See below.
3. The minister of justice is not a member of a political party,
which means that he has no political responsibility. Parlaimentary
checks are limited to votes of confidence.
4. Cases of abusal, constructing criminal offences, especially in
an effort to eliminate political opposition, as well as corruption,
were not doubted \ considered highly probable.
5. Because relatively many laws \ rules oppose each other, it is
relatively easy for the police to accuse a civilian of breaking a
rule. This phenomenon stems from the time Georgia was a Soviet
republic. Quite a number of laws from that era are not done
away with yet and other rules, covering the same field, have been
installed by the different regimes. Also the competences of relevant
authorities are not clearly defined, causing overlaps and related
6. Since there are no checks on the registration of -alledged-
violations of the law, a constructed 'crime' can't be distinghuished
from a real crime.
7. The official salary of a police man, we were told, is the
equivalent of US$ 38, which is way below the poverty-line of US$ 110.
This fuels any desire to supply the income, also in ways described
8. The interwovenness of police and organized crime is not doubted
among those interviewed.
9. A relatively strong interwovenness of power structures, as
existed during the FSU, still exists. The extend to which this can
be known has decreased, also due to the introduction of new
interests. These consists in the desire of a number of officials
to make Georgian society function better, or enjoy the advantages
as soon as possible, more or less regardless of the larger ramifi-
cations. Another factor, negatively influencing the distinghuish-
ability, is the desire to have good relations with 'the West'.
In a tradition of 'desinformation', as well as when perceived
interests increase and when the temptations are felt, a desired
picture will be presented.
Misguidance is a major threat to anyone trying to find an accurate
picture of the human-rights situation in Georgia.
Finally, there was a hesitance among some of the interviewed, as
regards to the permanence of the present trends of democratization.
This directly effected their desire to make an effort to make the
Georgian State function better and to not let the interest of their
own network prevail. Reason for this was a perspective in which
the political situation in Russia was seen, as determining Georgia's
course and thus the position of the officials involved.
One expected a less-liberal course in Russia and also expected that
the West would not have sufficiently-large interests in Georgia to
counter this, when it would negatively effect Georgia.
Officials, which will have proved to be trustworthy [loyal to
Russia], will be able to secure their interests better than those
now acting in ways, later on likely to be labeled as undesirable.

{  II} Detention due to political conviction \ abusal during
       detention \ violations of human rights.

1. During the FSU-era people were being detained due to their political
convictions; mostly a criminal offence was used a pretext to justify
the detention. If from a higher Communist Party [CP] stratus [where
all judiciary, public persecutors and barristers were -mandatorily-
a member of] an order was issued to create a certian situation, as
a rule, cooperation was given to this order.
Reasons regarding safeguarding ones career-perspectives and the
advantages for the relevant network, played a dominant role here.
>From interviews with the judiciary it became clear to us that in
time there were various orientations within the judiciary: all
loathed the system they worked under and no longer complied now.
Only for opportunistic- and pseudo conformstic reasons one coope-
rated before.
2. From interviews it became clear that abusal during detention
happened frequently. This is facilitated by the fact that lower
strata of the police force are de facto not being controlled.
This is due to an incapacity, as well as an unwillingness to do so.
3. 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'.
Meaning here, that only in a balance of powers, power can be justi-
fied. To the extend there is an unbalanced situation, there's the
danger of power-abusal and thus, without countervailing forces
being present, abusal of power becomes inevetable.
4. We couldn't visit any prisons, because the minister of internal
security, who was the only one who could give us permission for
this, was abroad. But, since the information from human-rights
organizations is concurring with what we understood from interviews,
we see no reason to abstain form forming a picture of the situation
in prisons.
This amounts to sheer inhuman living conditions: 20 people crammed
in a cel, dangerous criminals packed together with people who didn't
pay the bribe needed to pass a road check.
Mentally distorted inmates are incited to attack fellow prisoners,
while the guardes make shure the attacker is safe.
Guards who get high on tormenting inmates.
Tblisi-prison is notoriously known and is a national low, regarding
living circumstances for inmates in Georgia.

{ III} Absence of a fair trail.

1. The majority of the judiciary operated during a long time at the
time of the FSU, when 'telephone justice' was common [see also II:2].
New laws, aimed at improving the procedures regarding trails, have
been made and put into effect. Nevertheless, it is commonly accepted
that the actual way a trail proceeds, still bears strong marks of the
old ways. This is called 'inertia', by many of the interviewed.
This is the more so, because Georgian society is dominated and even
characterized by personal relations; these do not change, just because
another set of procedures is installed.
The guarantees, inherent in a fair trail, exist pre-eminently by the
acceptance of roles and by abstaining from personal affects.
Added to this, is that Georgia always been invaded and dominated by
other states. This decreases tendencies of abiding laws, installed
by non-groupers, especially when those laws conflict with the inte-
rests of the own group.
2. There is a common distrust regarding democratization and the out-
come of efforts to improve Georgian civic life.
Also in circles of the judiciary we heard this. No doubt that this
has a negative influence on a process of improving the due process
contents of trails.

{ IVa} Absence of state protection in general.

1. The state does not protect its civilians adequately.
A commonly heard idea is that authorities are at the mercy of powers,
over wich they have no control and which frustrate their good inten-
Adding this to what we already know about the FSU, the theme of
inertia we heard during the interviews and the information of those we
showed a commitment to the civic cause of building a state, lead us
to this conclusion.
2. The interwoveness of organized crime and authorities, does not add
to the capacity of the state to offer adequate protection to its
civilians. This is especially so, when the threats eminate from
circles of organized crime [see also V].
3. The lack of financial means to set up an adequate system for the
protection of its civilians and
4. A low level of education of the lower strata of the administra-
tion, as well as the police, constitute major hindrances.

{ IVb} Absence of state protection, regarding parts of its territory.

1. Although the state has a better control over the majority of its
territory, than some years ago, there is no adequate state protection
in rural areas.
2. Also due to the dominance of social networks, someone who is -no
longer- protected adequately by his network and who looks for other
means of protection, has a serious problem.
Georgian refugees from Abkhazia [IDP's] have, in connection with the
general lack of adequate protection, an extra hard time.
Discrimination arises when they pursue their interests differently and
raise envy with and rejection by the autochtonals.
'Envy' due to alotted primary life support by the international com-
munity and 'rejection', when they pursue their interests through
criminal acts, where autochtonals try to do this through their networks.

{  IVc} Absence od state protection, regarding ethnic minorities.

1. Georgia has a long tradition in the field of cohabitation of
various ethnic groups on its territory.
When tensions rise, due to lack of scarce means of existence, or
a disruption of social codes, ethnic differences might start playing
a role.
These can be utilized to enhance in-group cohesion in an ethnic group.
This enhances the possibilities for the relevant group to pursue
its interests. The less access to power an ethnic group has and the
larger the perceived distance between this group and a dominant one,
the larger the chance that the less powerful will be made into a
scape goat.
As a matter of fact, no concrete cases of discrimination, based on
ethnicity, have been reported to us.
Differences between ethnic groups was perceived by the interviewed,
but was not used to the detriment of the relevant groups.
It was generally heard that tolerance towards other ethnic groups
was significantly less in rural areas.
2. The state is increasingly present in rural areas, but plays a
rather dim role. On the one hand there is a positive influence on
ethnic relations, on the other hand the lower strata of the admini-
stration and police are notoriously unreliable in implementing what
is expected on a higher level in a relavant hierarchy.
See also: IVa: 2-4

{  IVd} Absence of state protection of civic rights, such as the
        freedom of the press and the right to organize demonstrations.

1. From interviews with journalists and editors we learned that the
seeming freedom of the press, is restricted between boundaries we
consider too strict to be able to talk rightfully about 'a freedom
of the press'.
Everyone lives in extended networks. Phenomena, which a reporter and
an editor want to cover, also exist in such a network.
The reporter and the editor take the relevant network as a reference
for what and how they will cover.
A phenomenon so primarily effects interests of members of a network,
with which one has a relationship.
And this relationship has dynamics, unknown to anyone else.
So, not the desire to inform the public dominates, but the relevant
network does.
This means that the public might get a picture of what happens, which
is more out of line with reality, than would be the case if the proper
desire would dominate.
And: the less latitude the press has, the less it will dare venturing.
The press limits itself while giving information about persons in places
of power, in order to avoid repercussions.
These repercussions differ: in case of a criminal person or organi-
zation, these will primarily be outside of the law. In case of a state
organ, or linked organization, repercussions will primarily be inside
of the law, or be realized through constructing criminal offences [see
also I:4 and II:1].
Especially due to the interwovenness of both realms, it's mostly hard
to distinghuish which kind of repercussion comes from where.
2. Regarding the right to organize demonstrations, we have the impres-
sion that here 'repressive tolerance' plays an important role.
As long as there is no real danger to the establishment, demonstrations
are allowed. In phrasing, this coincides with the attitude of all
states; in meaning for the people's right to ventilate their opinions,
there's quite a difference.
A much-heard opinion is that the bad economic situation might be
induced, or at least welcomed, by the authorities. Reason would be
that civilians are then so preoccupied with daily survival, that too
little energy and interest remains, for potentially disruptive behavior.
The vast majority of economic life happens in the 'shadow economy'.
This happens out of necessity: official wages [around US$ 10, as we
heard] and the lack of jobs, make this inevetable. It also motivates
civilians to break the law, which enables the authorities to manipulate

{   V} Connections between authorities and organized crime.

1. It struck us that even in circles of the judiciary, illigal con-
nections between the authorities and organized crime were not seen
as incidental. Others interviewed saw these connections as a common
occurence. The attitude, regarding this point, of the majority of
the interviewed was somewhere between laconical resignment and fierce
abhorrance. The former attitude was more common amongst people we
considered better informed and with a larger historical perspective.
The latter attitude could be located with people who were committed
to rapid change.
2. This connection significantly distorts the process of democratiza-
tion. Reasons for this are:
        [a] It attracts only those people, who comply with the demands
            set by the ruling people. This way the 'right' people keep
            fulfilling key posts. Their true loyalties are not with
            their formal position. Committed [to the process of demo-
            cratization] people are being appointed just there, where
            the power-proportions of a certian network allow. If the
            latter are appointed, they must count with those with
            other [criminal] loyalties, to the extend that they have
        [b] The trust of civilians in their government is undermined,
            when the loyalties of the official are unclear / suspect.
            As a rule civilians presume bad faith regarding the autho-
            rities. This is a heritage of invading powers, of which
            the Russians / Communists are the most recent.
        [c] Means, which could be used for building the nation, are
            now used for the enrichement of some, who have the power
            to do so.

{  VI} Russia's destabilizing influence, in relation with well-found
       fears of persecution.

1. That Russia still plays a destabelizing role in the region, is not
being doubted among those interviewed.
There is a difference of opinion regarding how much activities Russia
will implement in the future.
Some expect that Russia will not have a reason to secure its interests
in Georgia. Reason would be that the conflicts in Abkhazia and South-
Osetia will remain sufficiently combustible, to form a deterrent for
any undesirable Georgian course. Russia could, if it desires so,
relight these conflicts, or, alternatively, has staged the former
conflicts as well.
Russia has a tradition in the region in this sense.
Others are of the opinion that Russia is well-represented in Georgian
power structures. It would be keeping a low profile, until the Baku-
oil transports to the West would be under way. Then it would be in a
place to skim the transit-revenues.
We lack expertise to judge these hypotheses and restrict ourselves to
the potential effect of Russia's potential scheme's.
In connection with other points, we consider it likely, that when a
person is regarded as being a hindrance to a scheme here indicated,
he is likely to have a well-found fear of persecution.
The indicated ample connections with other power-centres facilitate
[2] The problem with convincing relevant authorities [ministery of
justice, judiciary] of a problem here indicated, is that the persecu-
tion is a second- or more derivate of what it originally was / is
This way the original problem is unrecognizable.
Probably weak, for unsustainable, stories are dismissed by the
relevant authorities.
This dismissal is due to another set of reference, where the stories
here meant, are considered 'non-plausable' [end of argument].
[When a refugee-status is given, the reason stated is always 'it is
considered plausable' [end of argument].
This report aims at changing \ widening this set of reference.
Other complicating factor are:  [a] some people don't know them-
selves how their persecutianory scheme works, and/or
                                [b] some people tell another story,
for they know the real one will be dismissed as 'implausable'.
Hereby they might get into problems, especially when they change
their mind and tell what really happened or that they don't really
know, and/or
                                [c] some people have been used to
set an example for someone else in their network. This raises
questions: does this person have a problem, or not and so forth
and so on.
Recognizeability of persecution, with the authorities in the country
of reception, is the main bottle-neck for refugees from Georgia.

{ VII} The role of the former Nomenclatura, in relation with well-
       found fears of persecution.

[1] Many officials have, in their present- or other places, worked
in state-structures.
[2]     The higher the position,
        the longer one has has functioned within a system and
        the bigger the interests,
        the larger the risk is for 'inertia'.
[3] Inertia here means: still thinking in terms of FSU-power struc-
tures, especially those of the Communist party.
[4] Civic- and human rigts played a minor role in the FSU.
[5] Civilians, now rising [or being pushed] above ground level,
have a significant chance to meet an 'inertia-official'.
[6] For most interviewed it's a matter of dispute, whether or not
the official will let new times and laws prevail over his inertia.
Also the extend of [chances for] his free will were disputed.
[7] The connections with organized crime are enhanced since
independence, increasing the chance of 'dirty hands' among
[8] Concluding, we take the position that a civilian is not
necessary better of with self-proclaimed or otherwise labeled
democratic[ish]\newstyle officials.
[9] Western aid is strongly desired.
[10]Western sponsors are keen to see decent officials.
[11]'Window dressing' happens with humans [and other organizatio-
nal phenomena, like animals and companies].
[12]The probable gap between a perceived image of an official and
his actual behaviour and/or knowledge [towards a civilian],
is likely to have increased.

{VIII} Shevarnadze's power struggle, in relation with well-found
       fears of persecution.

[1] None of those interviewed doubted that the fact that Shevar-
nadze is president now, can mean a well-found fear of persecution
for people from Georgia.
[2] Shevarnadze cooperated for quite a while with organized crime
groups [Mkedrioni], which he has now effectively liquidated.
[3] A general rule seems to be that the higher the political
profile, the larger the chance for persecution. This profile con-
tains [a] potential power and [b] undesired deviation from the present
[4] As a rule the persecution has a form, making it for outsiders
[including human-rights organizations] very unclear, whether a
certain phenomenon is due to a deliberate act by the state, aimed
a persecution.
Many times it's possible that the state is indeed acting within its
legal limits. Concluding: the boundary between persecution and
prosecution is unclear.
[5] As a rule the persecution does not work directly, but through
the relevant network. The fact that this is possible and that it
can happen with a legal pretext, mean a strong tendency for people
and organizations, to comply with whatever is expected from them.
This cloaks the difference between the way people and organizations
would like to behave -if they would feel secured by enforcable
civic- and human rights- and the way they actually do behave.
This difference was seen as a better approach of the extend of
oppression, than tallying events in the outside world.
[6] Also it was not doubted that the state could not -yet- operate
without cooperation of organized crime. A position also adhered to
by Shevarnadze.
Exactly this connection illustrates a core problem very well:
which specific action, which amounts to a well-found fear of perse-
cution when it stems from the state, indeed originates there.
And which action does not.
Does the state not want to, or is she not able to provide adequate
In both cases the state does not provide adequate protection, which
is what counts in the definition of the Geneva convention.
We understood that, regarding how to deal with organized crime,
the priority is with the question how to legalize their power and
how to cooporate with them. Fighting it, is secundary at best.
Reason is that the're powerful & organized and thus get things
They control important sectors of society and the state needs them.
Which concessions are being made to the -formally adhered to-
civic- and human rights, is unclear, due to the interconnectedness
of both realms.
Because this is unclear for non-initiated, a judgement of a situa-
tion in which a violation of human rights plays a role, must remain

{  IX} The economic situation, in relation with the human-rights

[1] The fact that people a occupied with the care for their basic
necesseties, means that there is little attention or energy for
other, more abstract aspects of society.
[2] The focus from the 1st point contributes to the prolongation
of social wrongs. Another reason is that some benefit from the
current state of affairs.
[3] Those who benefit can be found in circles of FSU-structures.
[4] People who can serve the interests of their network, will try
harder when the demands increase. Interests of others can be
damaged [including civic- and human rights] and will tend to be,
with the increased demands.
[5] Im- and explicit demands for assistance increase, with the
increase of economic hardship.

{  Xa} Risks upon return for ex-asylum seekers, without adequate

[1] Given the large scope for policy-making, which the police
allows itself, problems upon return can't be excluded.
[2] When such problems arise, there's no legal recourse, when one
can't call in assistance from one's network. This assistance must
be of such a countervailing quality, that the charges can be over-
ruled. It needs no argumentation, that not everyone, in every
situation, is able to realize adequate protection.
[3] The chances that the police will behave in the way, indicated in
the former point, increase with the extend to which someone is
regarded as potentially serving some interest with the police.
This interest can be direct or indirect.

{  Xb} Risks upon return, for single women.

[1] Single women have a sort of extra burden of proof, when com-
pared to married women, in order that they can participate in
civic life normally.
[2] The burden of proof increases with the -perceived- deviation.
[3] The appeal to the relevant network increases, with the increase
of the burden of proof. Thus: when the deviant behaviour increases,
the protection-quality of the network should rise accordingly.
If not, the single ex-fled woman has a problem. The problem might
culminate in persecution.
[4] Also when this point is insufficient in itself to give rise to
the phenomenon of persecution, it might play a decisive role, when
other factors are involved as well.

{  Xc} Criticism on the way the report of the Dutch foreign office on
       Georgia [August '95 and January '96] came about.

[1] From interviews we understood that the way the report of the
foreign office came about, is regarded as insufficient to form an
adequate picture of the human-rights situation in Georgia.
The reasons stated were:
[a] The visit of the delegation of the foreign office was organized
in an official way. This enabled the authorities to polish away
potentially undesired phenomena.
[b] By its official status, the delegation didn't hear the stories
behind the stories, with sources who feared this would endanger them.
[c] As will be clear from other parts of this report, these stories
behind stories contain highly relevant information, regarding poten-
tial well-found fears of persecution.
[d] Not speaking to members of the judiciary, the public prosecuters
office, or members of independent thinkers among the intelligentia,
was seen as major omission.

{  XI} Conclusion.

>From the interviews we held we are now of the strong opinion, that
asylum seekers from Georgia should have a decreased burden of proof.
Now the judiciary and the ministery of justice base their judgement
on the reports of the foreign office of August '95 and January '96.
These justify that the burden of proof is almost completely with the
asylum seeker.
The fact that delivering convincing evidence, regarding persecution
in Georgia, is sheer impossible, adds to the predicament of asylum
seekers from Georgia. This report gives ample ground to doubt the
validity of the grounds on which asylum seekers from Georgia are
now being judged.
We therefore plea for a careful investigation in Georgia, in every
request for asylum.
This is the only way to be able to get an appropriate picture of
the alledged fear of persecution and to do justice to those who
seek protection under the Geneva convention.
Therefore our foundation here states its desire to enter a dialogue
with the relevant legal actors, in order to make a first step towards
a fiar trial for asylum seekers from Georgia.

( Other chapters contain definitions and maps and will not be mentioned
in this translation ).

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