Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and EHRAC argue state responsibility for death of woman murdered by her ex-husband

September 2017: SRT grantees the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) have filed a femicide case with the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The case, which is the first-ever Georgian case of femicide sent to CEDAW, accuses the Georgian state of failing to prevent the murder of a woman on the grounds of her gender and failing adequately to investigate the crime.

The case relates to a Georgian woman, Bela D, who married her husband in 2004. A few years after the birth of their son in 2007, Bela’s husband began to abuse her physically and psychologically, and as a result she moved out of the family home with her children in September 2013. Her husband continued his physical and psychological abuse, finally stabbing Bela to death with a kitchen knife in March 2014.

Prior to her death, Bela had contacted the police four times (the last time just four days before her murder) asking for protection. In spite of this, the police and the Prosecutor’s Office did not take any action to protect her. Bela’s husband was later convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment, the minimum sentence stipulated under the law.

GYLA and EHRAC assert in their submission to CEDAW that the Georgian state bears responsibility for its failure to protect Bela from domestic violence and, ultimately, murder.

Jess Gavron, EHRAC’s Legal Director, said, ‘[Cases such as Bela’s] highlight ongoing gaps and failings in the law enforcement approach to violence against women in Georgia. We hope that judgments finding the State responsible will contribute to the implementation of a robust, comprehensive framework to tackle violence against women in Georgia, so that women who report domestic violence do not have to die to be taken seriously.’

Ana Natsvlishvili of GYLA said, ‘Winning this case will set an important precedent of holding the state accountable for its failure to properly address gender-motivated crimes. It will also send an important message to all law-enforcement agents to take their duties particularly seriously – their failure to act costs lives to other people! This must end.’

Full story from EHRAC’s website:

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