The Government of Georgia has drafted a new stricter legislative package for the provision of any kind of support for, or membership in, criminal groups or their representatives, frequently referred to as “thieves-in-law,” Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia said at a special briefing on February 2. Supporting criminal groups is already criminalized under Georgian legislation; the new package suggests stricter punishment.
The package has been already sent to the Parliament of Georgia for discussion.
Internal Minister Gakharia said the proposal was drafted because “passive membership” in the criminal world should become an “important instrument for the investigative systems.”
The legislative package proposes that “if a member of a criminal group cooperates with the investigative organs on heavy and less heavy crimes, then she/he will be free of charges,” Gakharia said.
Gakharia commented that a ‘crime mentality’ and organized crime are carriers of great risk to Georgian society.
Minister Gakharia said that the according law was written in 2005 and that it is time for implementing changes based on present needs. He stated that the changes serve as prerequisites in answering the challenges of organized crime.
“Our aim is to build up a successful country and for that we need to defeat organized crime,” he said.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili commented on the proposed package at a government meeting on February 2, saying that criminal mentality has no place in Georgia:
“I want to tell the Georgian population that criminal mentality will never set ground in Georgia. There is no chance for that. We will be successive and merciless in this direction, because this affects the peaceful life of our citizens and the building of our country.”
The crime rate rose 5% in 2017, according to recently-disclosed statistics by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.