Monday | 25 May, 2015

Perceived (in)equality in the courts in Georgia - the poor in trouble

The judiciary is essential to the functioning of a state. Hence, not only is its good performance important, but so are perceptions of the courts’ impartiality. In 2011 and 2014, CRRC-Georgia conducted two nationally representative public opinion polls funded by East-West Management Institute and the United States Agency for International Development. The surveys explored Georgians’ knowledge, trust and perceptions of the judiciary. Survey findings suggest that the situation has not changed much during this period, although there was a slight increase in the share of the population who reports completely agreeing that, in Georgia, everyone is equal before the law – from 34% in 2011 to 43% in 2014. Nevertheless, there are still representatives of certain social groups that people do not expect the courts will treat impartially.

During the survey interviews, a number of scenarios were offered to the respondents about representatives of various groups who were hypothetically charged with the same crime they did not commit. The respondents were asked who, in their opinion, would be more likely to be found guilty – rich or poor; Georgian or non-Georgian; Orthodox or non-Orthodox; heterosexual or a representative of a sexual minority.
While over 60% of the population claims in 2014 that Georgians and non-Georgians, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, heterosexuals and a representative of a sexual minority have the same chance of being found guilty or innocent when charged with an identical crime they did not commit, the population thinks that being rich or poor does make a difference – 43% answer that a poor person is more likely to be found guilty. Importantly, though, the most frequent answer reported by 49% in 2014 is that both a rich person and a poor person have the same chance of being found guilty or not guilty. Interestingly, 52% of the residents of the capital report a poor person is more likely to be found guilty, while only 40% think a rich person and a poor person will have the same chance in court. This suggests that the population in Tbilisi is less likely to perceive courts as impartial compared with the population in the rest of the country.

Note:  Don’t know and refuse to answer responses are not displayed on the chart.

Thus, although from 2011 to 2014 there was a slight increase in the perception that in Georgia everyone is equal before the law, almost half of the population still does not expect the courts will treat the rich and the poor equally.

For more information about the surveys on the judiciary, please take a look at the data here. A report comparing the results of the two waves can be found here.

04.08.2014 | Monday

A look at (in)Justice in Georgia as charges are brought against ex-President Saakashvili

On July 28, 2014 charges were announced against the former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili concerning the abuse of power. These charges make Saakashvili the highest public official from the former UNM government to be summoned by the prosecutor’s office to date.
27.11.2015 | Friday

Awareness of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement in Georgia, one year on

The June 27, 2014 initialing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, a wide reaching, largely economic treaty, was marked with celebration in Tbilisi as the fruit of a long running diplomatic effort to tighten ties with the European Union over the course of three Georgian administrations.
08.07.2011 | Friday

Georgia Adopts Law on the Status of Religious Minorities

On July 5, 2011 Georgia adopted a new legislative amendment into the country’s civil code stating that religious minority groups with “historic ties to Georgia” or those defined as religions by members of the Council of Europe can register as legal entities of public law. The initial draft of the law specifically mentioned the Roman Catholic Church, Muslim and Jewish communities, Armenian Apostolic Church and the Evangelical Baptist Church as having “close historic ties with Georgia”. However, the final draft did not specifically name these five groups.
27.07.2011 | Wednesday

Rule of Law in Georgia - Opinions and Attitudes of the Population

As a part of the Caucasus Barometer Report Writing Competition held by CRRC in the spring of 2011, we would like to present the second report (the first report was published recently) written by Salome Tsereteli-Stephen. The report deals with the rule of law in Georgia and here is a short summary of Salome’s findings and an analysis of the subject.
28.07.2011 | Thursday

Upswing of Transition in Georgia

This past summer, Freedom House launched the 14th edition of its Nations in Transit (NIT) report. The publication comprehensively monitors democratic developments in 29 countries from Central Europe to Eurasia, amongst them Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. CRRC is represented in the report with data from the 2010 Corruption Survey in Armenia.
12.12.2006 | Tuesday

Georgians living in Gali

Rusudan Velidze analyzed the living conditions of the Georgian population living in Gali, in Abkhazia. For those unfamiliar with the circumstances, these mostly are (Georgian) Megrelians, and the area is under control of the de facto Abkhaz authorities.
20.11.2017 | Monday

Was the population informed about the constitutional reform in Georgia?

After 10 months of discussions, the parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to the constitution of the country on September 29th and overrode the president’s veto on October 13th, 2017. The most widely discussed amendments are about rules for electing the president, self-governance principles, the definition of marriage, the sale of agricultural land to foreigners, the minimum age of judges and the country’s foreign policy  orientation. Because of the importance of the amendments, one would expect a high level of awareness among the population. However, despite the public meetings held and media coverage of the issue, according to the CRRC/NDI survey from June 2017, a majority of the population of Georgia was not aware of the constitutional reform process.
09.04.2018 | Monday

People in Georgia approve of doing business with Russians, despite interstate hostility

In the 2017 wave of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey, 40% of the population of Georgia named Russia as the main enemy of the country.  Turkey and the United States garnered the second highest share of responses with 3% each.  Yet, no particular animosity towards ethnic Russians is observed in answers to a question about people’s (dis)approval of individuals of their ethnicity doing business with Russians. This blog post examines how answers differ by people’s opinions about whether or not Russia is the main enemy of Georgia.
28.01.2019 | Monday

Georgians have more negative attitudes towards the Chinese than other foreigners in Georgia

Georgia is often famed for its hospitality. While the country is more tolerant of other ethnicities, relative to Armenia and Azerbaijan, it has also experienced a rise in nationalist rhetoric and movements in recent years. A number of incidents have also taken place, with hate crime directed towards immigrants and religious and ethnic minorities. This blog post looks at attitudes towards different migrant groups based on a survey experiment in the Caucasus Barometer 2017 survey.
22.04.2019 | Monday

Perceptions of prosecutors’ and judges’ wheelings and dealings

On January 19th, 2019 the Rustavi 2 TV channel broadcast an investigative documentary Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty produced. The documentary “Judges in the Government’s Service” followed up on the government’s attempted confiscation of Constanta Bank from its founders in 2011. It further hinted at alleged misconduct by the prosecutors and judges.
12.08.2019 | Monday

Georgian language proficiency and perceptions of government performance among minorities in Georgia

Integration of ethnic minorities into Georgian society is a significant challenge. As a result of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis’ linguistic separation from ethnic Georgian compatriots, some research suggests their ability to participate in government has been low. Indeed, programming aimed at minority integration in Georgia often focuses on language skills. But, the question remains, how do ethnic minorities that are proficient in Georgian perceive the government? The April 2019 CRRC and NDI data suggest that, while ethnic Armenians that speak Georgian at an advanced level have worse attitudes towards government performance in Georgia, ethnic Azerbaijanis that speak Georgian at an advanced level have better attitudes.