2021: Georgia in the U.S. State Department Report on Terrorism

On February 28, the U.S. Department of State released the Country Reports on Terrorism 2021, a detailed overview of the global counterterrorism environment prepared for the Congress.

According to the report, “the terrorism situation in Georgia in 2021 remained quiet and stable”. It highlighted Georgia’s efforts in the arrest of 5 Georgian citizens in the Pankisi Gorge region who were charged with the membership of ISIS and prevented from travelling to a terrorist camp in Syria.

Particular attention is paid to the violence that occurred on July 5th Tbilisi Pride event. According to the report report, LGBTQI+ community, alongside with journalists and NGO representatives, were attacked by the “far-right, pro-Russia group Alt-Info and far-right networks associated with violent extremism including the Children’s Rights Defenders Society and Georgian March”. It is stressed in the report that the Ministry of  Internal Affairs failed to implement riot control measures during the event, and that despite the conviction of 28 perpetrators, “no group leaders or organizers of the violence were held legally responsible”. It is also noted that Alt-info registered a political party, the Conservative Movement, which has “voiced support for violence to achieve their goals”.

The document touched upon the development of the National Counterterrorism Strategy and Action Plan for 2022-26, noting that despite the inclusion of NGO representatives in the discussion process by the government, “a prominent civil society organization criticized the document for not adequately addressing key threats and challenges”.

It took notice of The State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG), which was assessed as “generally well equipped and well trained”. It’s Counterterrorism Unit is recognized for receiving continues trainings and further developing, by cooperation in certain areas with the international partners. Nevertheless, some issues have been identified, such as the concerns raised by the Civil society, journalists, and the international community “regarding the State Security Service’s secret surveillance system and its lack of political neutrality and weak oversight.”

Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of State report affirmed that in 2021 “Georgia continued efforts focused on minority integration, education, media access, youth, and cultural diversity”.

Additionally, Georgia’s actions against financing of terrorism were improved in 2021 by the Law on Facilitation of Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, passed on March 30, “according to which amendments to the list of persons sanctioned by UN Security Council resolutions take direct effect in Georgia”.

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