The Parliament of Georgia passed on January 11 with its third and final reading “a one time, temporary and special” law on amnesty giving pardon in various forms to the inmates, convicted of different crimes under the Criminal Code of Georgia before December 11, 2020.
The law, initiated by Georgian Dream MP Mikheil Sarjveladze, was endorsed unanimously by Georgian Dream and European Socialists MPs with 83 votes. According to the document, the bill is taking into account the security level of society and acts under the “principles of humanism.”
“The amnesty law will cover approximately 1,500 inmates, thousands of probationers, and 4,000 persons who were fined before October 1, 2012,” said MP Sarjveladze, who serves as Chairperson of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee.
Violence, Physical Offense
The bill pardons inmates convicted under various articles of the Criminal Code envisaging punishment for various types of violence. The persons convicted of Article 121, involving intentional grave or less grave bodily injury caused in the state of emotional excitement, will be fully exempt from the sentence.
Full discharge from the conviction will also apply the inmates who violated Article 122, involving intentional grave or less grave bodily injury by exceeding the self-defense limits, and Article 123, which involves intentional bodily injuries by exceeding the extent required for seizing an offender, respectively.
Those convicted under Article 124, involving grave or less grave bodily injury through negligence, will also leave penitentiary cells through the amnesty.
The persons convicted under Article 120 for intentional less grave bodily injury, except for those jailed over domestic violence, will be exempt from the penalties upon the victim’s consent.
The amnesty possibly incorporating the persons convicted of domestic violence has become a subject of civic discussion and criticism before the final approval of the draft. Evidently, the authors of the bill took under consideration the ongoing debate and restrained from including domestic offenders in the list of amnestied people.
Additionally, provided the victim’s consent, the persons sentenced under Article 126, encompassing different sub-points of general violence, also will be discharged from the legal responsibility. Similar to other Articles, this excludes the persons found guilty of domestic violence.
A substantial part of the amnesty involves pardons for drug-related crimes.
According to the bill, the persons convicted of the first and second parts of Article 261, involving illegal manufacturing, production, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer, or sale of psychotropic substances, and potent substances, respectively, will be fully exempt from the legal responsibility (except for those convicted for illegal selling).
The newly granted amnesty also frees from conviction the inmates sentenced under the first part of Article 265, involving illegal sowing, growing, or cultivation of plants containing narcotics, and the first part of Article 271, involving making premises available for illegal use of drugs.
The full exemption from the conviction additionally includes Article 273 – illegal production, purchase, storage, or consumption of a narcotic drug in small quantity, as well as, the first seven parts of Article 273-1 – illegal purchase, storage, carrying, transfer, and/or sale of cannabis plant, or of marijuana.
The term will be halved for the persons who have not been convicted before, and are sentenced under the third part of Article 260, involving illegal production, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer, or sale of drugs in large quantity/repeatedly/etc., and the third part of Article 261 – illegal manufacturing, production, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or sale of psychotropic substances in large quantity/repeatedly/etc.
Additionally, the persons convicted of the second and third parts of Article 265, involving illegal sowing, growing, or cultivation of plants containing narcotics in large and particularly large quantity, will serve only 3/4 of their sentences.
Provided the persons have not been convicted before, they will serve only 3/4 term of their sentences for crimes committed under 6A paragraph of Article 260, involving illegal production/storage/transportation/transfer of drugs in particularly large quantities, and Paragraph 4A of Article 261, involving production/storage/etc. of potent substances in particularly large quantities. The amnesty under these Articles does not apply those convicted for illegal selling of narcotics.
The bill also envisages amnesty for those convicted for a substantial part of the financial violations. The persons convicted of the first part of Article 186 – purchase or sale of property obtained knowingly by illegal means – will be fully exempt from the sentence. The full discharge will also apply to the people convicted under Art. 207, involving failure to file an application for initiating insolvency proceedings in the case of insolvency.
Provided the victim’s consent, the persons convicted under Art. 182, involving misappropriation or embezzlement, as well as, under Articles 180 and 185, fraud and damage of property, respectively, will be freed from criminal liability.
The offenders convicted under Articles 208 and 211, involving illegal obtaining of a credit, and misuse of cheque or credit cards, respectively, having prior clear criminal record, will enjoy full pardon, provided that they compensate damage.
According to the bill, the term will be halved for persons – with prior clear criminal record – who committed crimes envisaged under Article 212, involving manufacturing or sale of forged money or securities. The persons having violated the third part of Art. 218, involving tax evasion, will serve only half of the sentence provided that they are willing to compensate for the damage, if they have prior clear criminal record.